Updated on July 11 at 2:54 p.m. ET
Senate Republican leaders have a new plan to pass the health-care bill their members scuttled late last month: They’ll unveil a revised bill this Thursday, receive an updated analysis from the Congressional Budget Office on Monday, and then rush the proposal across the floor before its critics have a chance to defeat it.
“We’re going to do health care next week,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared on Tuesday after briefing senators on proposed changes to his original proposal.
This new timeline is the same as the old one. It’s a rinse-and-repeat version of McConnell’s original hurry-up scheme, which collapsed rather easily amid an onslaught of jabs and hooks from more than one-fifth of the Republican senators whose support was necessary to pass the bill. That failure set back the entire Senate agenda, and in a rare interruption of a sancrosanct congressional tradition, McConnell announced that he was delaying the chamber’s August recess by two weeks to finish up health care—win or lose—and address other issues like a national defense bill, the debt ceiling, and stalled presidential nominations.
On health care, having a plan is not the same as having the votes, and McConnell remains far short of his magic number, which is 50 plus a tie-breaking nod from Vice President Mike Pence. A conservative bloc on the right is demanding that the Senate bill allow insurers the flexibility to sell plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act, while more moderate Republicans are insisting on more funding for insurance subsidies, the opioid epidemic, rural hospitals, and the restoration of some of the proposal’s deep cuts to Medicaid. Senators were also dismayed by the CBO’s projection that 22 million more people could be uninsured as a result of the plan. McConnell can afford to lose just two votes, and so far he’s down at least 10.