Capitol Correspondence - 07.17.17

Senate Healthcare Vote Delayed Due to Unplanned Absence of Lawmaker

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The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) hit another bump in the road to passage in the Senate late last week as Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced that he would be recovering from minor surgery for at least a week. Republican leadership can only afford to lose two votes, and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have already said they will not vote to approve a motion to proceed the bill to floor debate, leaving no margin to lose any other votes. It had been expected that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would move the bill to a vote this week, but given the most recent developments, the timeframe has been postponed by at least a week.
It had also been expected that a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score would be out early this week, but that has now been delayed as well. The Trump administration is laying the groundwork to discredit the anticipated CBO analysis, including by releasing a statement last week saying that the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) had analyzed CBO’s last report and believed the report should be “discounted” due to “large errors made…in estimating the toll of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).” CBO is a federal agency within the legislative branch that is tasked with conducting nonpartisan and impartial analyses of federal fiscal policy. 
The delay in a vote on the bill provides additional time for stakeholders to weigh in on the bill. ANCOR will continue to send out action alerts and updates on the BCRA, and encourages members to check for the latest information on actions to take. Repeated telephone calls to Senators in key states are highly encouraged as they are one of the most effective and efficient means to contact your elected officials.