Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set a procedural vote on the Republican bill – penned by weak North Carolina Sen. Thomas Thillis – he says should maintain protection for pre-existing conditions tossing the ACA to the Supreme Court needed. That would give GOP senators something they can point to as evidence that they want to continue those protections and allow them to vote against the Democratic bill on Thursday and defeat them.
Tillis stalled on a strictly party line vote Wednesday night, with Democrats 47 to 47 voting against it and Republicans voting to push it forward. Although Democrats could not get the required 51 votes to kill the bill, it is ultimately going nowhere. It would require 60 votes to pass, which it would not find in a narrowly divided chamber where the GOP has a 53–47 edge.
Democrats call McConnell’s move a “show vote”, arguing that Republicans have begun to demonstrate their support for maintaining security for already existing conditions, less than that promise under previous bills is.
“Senate Republicans are once again doing nothing to fool Americans to protect their loved ones from pre-existing conditions. The only people included in this bill are Senate Republicans,” Democratic Sen. Said Joe Manchin of West Virginia. .
After Schumer took control of the floor from McConnell, who usually controls the Senate schedule – and forced Thursday’s procedural vote on the Democratic bill, Schumer rarely took the planned step. Democrats are eager to make headlines for efforts by the White House to try to kill the health care law and are looking for ways to return against the quick confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Connie Barrett before the election, Given that the High Court will hear the trump administration’s ACA appeal in November
Democrats are forcing small procedural delays in Senate action in the name of Barrett, who do not have the votes to stop, in protest against his nomination. Democrats are expected to continue with procedural votes that could force the Senate to return to session next week when senators were scheduled to be on pre-election recess.
McConnell and his leadership team are telling their members that if Democrats do not cooperate, there may be a session next week. According to one participant, the topic came up at the Senate GOP lunch on Wednesday.
Asked if the Senate would be in the running again next week, as it has been determined, Senate Majority Whip John Thune said: “It’s like the Democrats.”
Establishment of pro form sessions requires unanimous consent – where no business operates – during Senate recess. If the Senate is in session, it is unclear whether there will be a vote. If there are no votes, the senators running for the reunion will still be able to campaign back home next week.
This story has been updated with additional development.