July 17, 2017
There's no good time for a health emergency, but for Senate Republicans, John McCain's (R-Ariz.) couldn't have come at a worse one. The longtime senator threw a kink in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) plans when doctors found a dangerous blood clot behind the Arizona senator's eye. And unfortunately for the GOP, the surgery didn't just take McCain out of commission -- it put the new health care bill on hold.
Without a vote to spare on the plan, McConnell said he would "defer consideration" of the measure until McCain recovered. That's an unexpected blow to the GOP's schedule, which was on pace to vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act as early as this week. But even the sick senator made it clear that postponing the debate infinitely isn't an option. "Have no doubt," he said, "Congress must replace Obamacare, which has Arizonans with some of the highest premium increase in the nation and left 14 of Arizona's 15 counties with one provider option on the exchanges this year."
Unfortunately for Republicans, McCain's return isn't the only thing standing in their way. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is taking an unusually long time to produce a score for the new proposal, which only complicates matters for a party desperate to move forward. Like us, they know that the longer this debate drags on, the worse its prospects are. Still, even the bill's detractors -- like Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) -- isn't going to declare the plan dead. "There are a lot of us who have concerns about the [Better Care Reconciliation Act]. But how this would all translate out, I'm not certain. And I never underestimate Leader McConnell's skills."
For now, pro-lifers hopes are still riding on the language, which defunds Planned Parenthood, forces insurers to be more transparent about their plans, and ends Obama's legacy of taxpayer-funded abortion in health care. For those reasons (and more), we must continue pressuring the Senate not to abandon the effort. The time to repeal Obamacare is now! If you haven't contacted your senators (and even if you have), take the time today to give them the push they need to keep fighting. Let's get Americans out of the abortion business, once and for all.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.