Senate Will Not Vote on Graham-Cassidy, Will Move to Tax Reform
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) announced that the Senate would not be voting on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill before September 30. This news came after a GOP-only lunch where it was clear the bill did not have the 50 needed votes to secure passage. Senators Susan Collins (ME), John McCain (AZ) and Rand Paul (KY) all came out against the bill earlier this week. In a press conference following the announcement, Leader McConnell said the chamber will now shift its focus to tax reform.
The National Council thanks all mental health and addictions advocates who, after months of fighting to protect Medicaid and the ACA, raised their voices once again to defeat this harmful legislation. Your advocacy mattered, it made a difference and it saved lives. Thank you!
Following public opposition from three GOP Senators, Senate leadership made the decision not to bring the bill to the Senate floor on Tuesday. “We haven’t given up on changing the American health care system,” said Majority Leader McConnell. “We are not going to be able to do that this week, but it still lies ahead of us, and we haven’t given up on that.”
Senator Graham remained confident that his proposal could pass at a later date, saying there were “50 votes for the content, but not 50 votes for the process.” He said that the state block grants system proposed under the Graham-Cassidy bill will ultimately replace the Affordable Care Act, saying “it’s not ‘if,’ it’s only a matter of when.”
WHAT COMES NEXT
The budget reconciliation rules that have been used over the last nine months to try and pass health care legislation by a simple majority will expire on September 30. Leader McConnell has said that the Senate will move onto tax reform, leaving next steps for health care unclear.
Bipartisan efforts to stabilize insurance markets and lower premiums are already in the works. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee leaders Chairman Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) had been working on a short-term, bipartisan solution prior to the rise of the Graham-Cassidy proposal. Senator Murray said she hopes to pick up where they left off following the week’s developments. News reports indicate a deal could be announced as early as Friday.
Thank your Senators! Legislators are rarely thanked for their work and actions. With the Senate no longer voting on the harmful Graham-Cassidy bill – thanks in large part to constituent advocacy and education – now is the perfect time to say “Thank you!” Follow-up on your hard work and advocacy by thanking your legislators for not voting to cut or cap Medicaid. Click here to get started. https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/policy-action/unite4bh/