Federal Spotlight: Senate August recess shortened due to health care debate

July 13, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced this week that the Senate would remain in session going into the month of August to continue work on health care reform. Sen. McConnell shortened the August recess in hopes of passing The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) - the vehicle Senate Republicans are using to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Deep divisions still exist within in the GOP caucus. Moderates would like to keep the medicaid expansion that was part of the ACA. Conservatives would like to see outright repeal. Arcane budget rules are being used to repeal the ACA and pass the BCRA which means Republicans only need a simple majority to pass the legislation. All Democrats lined up in opposition to the bill. With only 52 GOP senators, Sen. McConnell can only afford to lose two votes if he hopes to pass the bill. The situation remains extremely fluid, and a new draft of the bill is set to be released on Thursday.