After all the energy the House just expended on ramming through its Obamacare repeal, the Senate is about to start over.
“We’re writing a Senate bill and not passing the House bill,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). “We’ll take whatever good ideas we find there that meet our goals.”
They need to end up with a bill that can win over 50 of the 52 GOP senators in the narrowly divided chamber. And even if they accomplish that, their bill could be unpalatable to House conservatives. The House bill squeaked through on a 217-213 vote.
The two chambers have not coordinated much in recent weeks as the House — with an assist from the White House — frantically worked to kick the health care bill to the other side of the Capitol. Senate Republicans say they’ll take the time they need to understand the House bill’s ramifications. And they will insist on a score from the Congressional Budget Office before voting, unlike the House.
“Like y’all, I’m still waiting to see if it’s a boy or a girl,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours, going to be debated three or four hours, not scored? Needs to be viewed with suspicion.”