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Recess is over: Health bill debate gains traction

13 July 2017

Republicans hold a razor-thin 52-seat majority in the 100-member Senate, and McConnell will have to balance the desires of moderates, who are tired of increasing the number of their constituents who will lack insurance, with those who say the first draft legislation did not go far enough in eliminating Obamacare.

The Senate will now remain at work through the week of August 7.

The announcement came shortly after a group of senators, mostly freshmen, called for leaders to skip the August recess so the Senate could handle critical business, including health care and tax reform.

"It's important for Republicans not to be deceived by the attacks that are coming out of Chuck Schumer and the Democrats", said Cruz, who has repeatedly cautioned against setting "artificial" deadlines on a health care vote.

Lee said he pointed out to his colleagues that there are some changes that would "bring me along", including the consumer freedom option and allowing people to use pretax dollars to pay their premiums using a health savings account.

While there were slight variations between each of the previous versions of the GOP health bill, they all stuck to the same core principles - and each would mean devastating cuts to Medicaid, millions of Americans without health insurance, and more people seeing their essential health benefits taken away.

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The move comes as Senate Republicans grow increasingly doubtful about their ability to pass a comprehensive package to repeal Obamacare, as hardline conservatives like Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said on Fox News Tuesday. A new Congressional Budget Office score, which estimates effects on the uninsured rate and the budget, would likely emerge later this week or early next week.

Trump made repealing and replacing Obamacare a top campaign promise a year ago.

The move came in reaction to concerns by many Republican senators that there won't be enough time to tackle their tax, budget, and health care to-dos before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

"If the GOP now supports an insurance stabilization fund to lower insurance prices, maybe they now support a new vehicle stabilization fund to lower the price of cars".

The Senate was initially set to begin a five-week recess on July 31, but McConnell's decision pushes it back to the week of August 14.

Some Republicans said Monday that a revised version of their bill erasing much of President Barack Obama's health care law could be introduced Thursday.

Recess is over: Health bill debate gains traction