While ahead of today's Senate healthcare vote it was nothing but noise and chaos, gradually things are crystallizing, and there is a small chance Senate Republicans may just be able to pull it off.
According to GOP aides quoted by The Hill, Senate Republicans are considering passing a dramatically scaled-down version of their ObamaCare repeal bill as a way to pass something and set up negotiations with the House. The "skinny bill" proposal is intended to be something all Republicans can agree on, allowing something to pass and setting up a conference committee with the House.
As The Hill adds, the scaled-down bill would likely just repeal ObamaCare's individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax and represents a far narrower measure than the most recent Senate replacement bill, which also scaled down ObamaCare's subsidies and cut Medicaid.
The consideration of the scaled down measure is a sign of how much trouble Senate Republicans are having coming to agreement on any more significant bill.
The scaled-down bill will likely be revealed after the initial two votes on both a repeal-only measure and the latest replacement bill, fail as expected. Republicans also will need to gather enough votes to start debate, and it is still unclear if they have those votes. Still, John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, was optimistic when he floated a conference committee with the House on Monday evening. “I think if you want to get a result that may be a selling point."
And in a sign that things may be starting to move in Trump's favor, ealier today Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday that he will vote in favor of the Senate healthcare. Paul tweeted that he will vote in favor of a motion to proceed to a debate on healthcare because Mitch McConnell told him the chamber would take up the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill previously passed by Congress.
“If this is indeed the plan, I will vote to proceed and I will vote for any all measures that are clean repeal.”
This morning, @SenateMajLdr informed me that the plan for today is to take up the 2015 clean repeal bill as I've urged.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 25, 2017
If this is indeed the plan, I will vote to proceed and I will vote for any all measures that are clean repeal.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 25, 2017
As The Hill writes, Paul has pushed for a vote on the 2015 bill, which repeals large parts of ObamaCare's requirements and regulations, instead of the GOP repeal-and-replace plan that Republicans have been working on this year. Even with Ryan's approval it remains unclear if McConnell has the 50 votes he needs to proceed to debate.
In a major hurdle to the 2015 repeal bill, it would need 60 votes, and will likely fail because it won't get the support of Democrats and some Republicans. However, the floated "skinny bill" just may be able to squeek through...