Senate Republicans leaders have decided not to bring their last-ditch Obamacare repeal bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, to the floor this week, for now killing their seven-year effort to dismantle the 2010 health care law.
"We don't have the votes," said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, one of the co-authors of the bill, at a press conference following a closed-door Senate GOP Conference lunch. "We made the decision that since we don't have the votes, we won't hold the vote."
The decision comes after three Senate Republicans came out against the latest version of the measure -- John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine. Republicans could only afford two defections, assuming all Democrats were going to oppose the legislation proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina and Cassidy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said that the GOP will now move forward with their next priority, which is tax reform.
"We're coming back to this after taxes," Graham insisted at a press conference after their lunch. "We're going to fulfill our promise to repeal and replace."
Republicans were relying on the budget reconciliation process to repeal the law, which allows for passage of certain legislation with 51 votes rather than the usual 60-vote threshold. However, due to a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian, Senate Republicans have only until Saturday, the end of the fiscal year, to use the procedure.
Under the bill, "millions fewer" people would have health insurance over the next decade according to a preliminary analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).