The Lady liberty
She couldn't turn away, She was forced to watch it all.
Did she long to offer comfort As her country bled?
With her arm forever frozen High above her head.
She could not shield her eyes She could not hide her face
She just stared across the water Keeping Freedom's place.
The smell of smoke and terror Somehow reduced her size
So small within the harbor But still we recognized...
How dignified and beautiful On a day so many died
I wonder what she thought, And I know she must have cried.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a vote to repeal and replace Obamacare scheduled for early next week after Sen. John McCain announced he’d be out due to surgery, costing Republicans sufficient votes to move forward.
McConnell gave no new timetable for the vote when he announced the delay late Saturday, saying only that the Senate will “defer consideration” of the bill while working on other matters. GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine opposed the bill already, and McCain’s absence next week would likely have made it impossible to proceed.
A half-dozen key senators, including McCain, were undecided on whether to go ahead with a procedural vote, putting the bill’s future in serious jeopardy before McConnell punted.
McCain revealed on Saturday that he had a blood clot removed on Friday at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. His office said he would spend next week in Arizona recovering from the surgery, leaving McConnell short of the votes to move forward. Republicans control only 52 votes in the chamber, and the early opposition to the bill from Collins and Paul means McConnell can’t afford to lose any more votes from his party given the united Democratic opposition.
“While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act,” McConnell said.
The Senate may consider the Food and Drug Administration user fees extension and lower level nominees while McCain is out. The chamber may also try to raise the debt limit. McConnell canceled two weeks of recess last week as GOP senators grew antsy at the swelling workload. That leaves the Kentucky Republican the option of bringing up the health care vote in August if McCain is able to return.
McConnell had already delayed a vote once, in June, when a prior version of the bill was clearly short of the support needed to pass.
The future of the Obamacare repeal effort will remain top of mind for the GOP and McConnell given the party’s seven-year quest to gut the law and the very real potential that a repeal bill cannot pass the Senate.
McConnell revised the bill furiously last week in an attempt to win more votes and included a divisive amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would allow the sale of cheap, deregulated health plans as long as Obamacare-compliant plans were still sold by insurers. McConnell’s latest draft also left in place some of Obamacare’s tax increases, plowed $70 billion more into lowering premiums, allowed pre-tax dollars to pay for insurance premiums and delivered $45 billion to fight opioid addiction.
Those additions have not yet garnered the support of 50 senators to even start debate on the bill. Cruz signed onto the latest version after his amendment was included, but a number of Republicans remain undecided on voting to advance the legislation, including Dean Heller of Nevada, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Lee of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jeff Flake of Arizona and McCain.
Many of those senators are waiting for their Republican governors to weigh in on the legislation before moving forward and are bristling at proposed reductions in Medicaid spending.
The administration has launched an all-out push to convince the likes of Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, but the state executives have been wary of the latest version of the draft, which made no structural changes to phasing out the Medicaid expansion and cutting future Medicaid spending.
“I am struggling to validate the numbers that are being presented to me by the administration versus what I’m hearing from independent [experts],” Sandoval said at a governors conference in Rhode Island.
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