On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn’t seem to provide an explanation as to how to pay for or pass the Republican alternative to Obamacare.
In order to pass a bill, the Senate generally requires 60 votes. If the GOP plans to pass their Affordable Care Act replacement, that means that they would need eight Democrats and all of the Republicans. Setting aside the difficulty in procuring Democratic votes for this widely unpopular proposition, this is problematic for the GOP because there are also many Republican skeptics of the plan.
The first step in passing the Obamacare replacement will move by reconciliation, or expedited budgetary procedure that simply requires a majority vote because it only addresses the bill’s budgetary concerns, rather than actual policy changes.
When McConnell was prompted as to how he could get members of his own party to move the legislation, the Senate Majority Leader chose to shift his focus on just one complaint of only some senators — the fact that the bill does not protect people who have health insurance. McConnell claimed that the Republican approach had buy-in from some Republican governors and expressed enthusiasm, saying “we’re optimistic this is the best way to go.”
When journalists asked McConnell how he would pay for the replacement if the Affordable Care Act funding was removed and if taxes were not raised, McConnell cowered. Entirely avoiding the question, McConnell stated, “well, It just got launched yesterday… We’re going to have plenty of time to look at it. We’ll be looking at all aspects of it.”
He continued to dodge the question, explaining, “we’ll looking at the whole proposal as it moves through regular order in the House. We’ll have ample time to answer all the questions.”