WASHINGTON — Senate GOP leaders abandoned their effort to dismantle and simultaneously replace much of the Affordable Care Act, after the defections of two more Republican senators left the party short of the votes needed to pass President Donald Trump’s top legislative priority in his first year in office.
In a stinging defection for party leadership, GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas on Monday night became the third and fourth Republicans to oppose the latest version of the GOP bill, which would roll back and replace much of the Affordable Care Act.
Senate Republicans had already lost two GOP votes, from Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, and the new opposition from Lee and Moran meant Senate leaders didn’t have enough support to advance the bill in a procedural vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky.) acknowledged the defeat in a statement Monday night. “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said.
In a strategy facing long odds, the majority leader said the Senate would instead vote “in coming days” on a bill the chamber passed in late 2015 to unravel most of the ACA, which former President Barack Obama vetoed in January 2016.
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