The GOP’s Obamacare repeal backup plan is dead.

Republicans’ “Repeal-Only” Plan Is Dead Now, Too

Republicans’ “Repeal-Only” Plan Is Dead Now, Too

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July 18 2017 12:31 PM

Republicans’ “Repeal-Only” Plan Is Dead Now, Too

Time for Plan C. Then Plan D.

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Update, 12:42 p.m.: That didn't take long. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, as she was lunging into an elevator in the Senate basement, told reporters that she would not vote to proceed on the bill. There are now three Republican "no" votes, enough to block it.

Original post: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday night that, with the collapse of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate would instead consider a plan to simply repeal as much of Obamacare as it can, and figure out a replacement later. There are many, many problems with this strategy, which is why Republicans abandoned it after thinking about it for a hot second in January. Now Senate Republicans have thought about it for a hot second again and are already on the verge of abandoning it. Again.


Two Republican senators, West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito and Maine's Susan Collins, have already come out against the repeal-only bill. Collins had voted against the 2015 "test run" repeal-only bill on which this new one will be modeled. That one was introduced by Republicans knowing full well that Obama would veto, so there's no way she would support it when Republicans are playing with live ammunition. Collins said she also wouldn't vote to proceed to debate.

Capito, meanwhile, issued a statement saying that she "cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians." She followed up that she wouldn't vote to proceed, either, without a replacement plan.

With two defections on the procedural vote already, McConnell would at least have to wait for Arizona Sen. John McCain to return to Washington once he's finished recovering from surgery to move ahead on repeal only. Or we could just wait a little longer for others to come out against it.

I asked Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn on Tuesday morning what would happen next if a third vote came out against repeal only.

"We'll see," he said.

I genuinely believe that neither he nor anyone else has a clue about what's next. Their signature legislative effort is in flames, and they're making it up on the fly.

This post has been updated.