Senate Republicans will delay a vote on their Obamacare replacement bill until after July 4, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, as the party faces opposition from enough GOP members to block the measure.
The move marks a setback for the Kentucky Republican, who had hoped to win support to approve the bill this week before senators leave for the holiday recess.
"We're going to continue the discussions within our conference on the differences that we have that we're continuing to try to litigate. Consequently, we will not be on the bill this week, but we're still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place," McConnell said, adding that he is still "optimistic" about passing Obamacare replacement legislation.
As of Tuesday afternoon, five Republican senators — enough to block a procedural motion to move forward with the bill — said they would oppose the motion barring changes to the plan. A Congressional Budget Office score on Monday estimated that the proposal would lead to 22 million more uninsured Americans by 2026, only complicating matters for moderate GOP senators on the fence.
Republicans face difficulties in winning over skeptical senators, as tweaks to appease conservatives could alienate moderates, or vice versa. The hurdles threaten to delay a key plank of the sweeping agenda Republicans hoped to pass when President Donald Trump won the White House and the GOP held onto both chambers of Congress.