Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a carefully mapped out strategy for tackling a long roster of “must dos” in July, but one item is standing in the way of his plan: passage of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act before Republicans scatter for a 10-day Fourth of July recess.
McConnell is still working to find the 50 GOP votes he needs to pass the ACA bill without Democratic support and then clear the decks for dealing with a long list of other priorities during the 15 days the Senate will be in session in July. After July 29 the Senate will take off for its annual five-week recess.
On McConnell’s to-do list is a bill Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants to bring to the floor to sharply ramp up Pentagon spending. Republicans said they also are under pressure to bring up bills to prevent crises at the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration when those agencies’ authorizations lapse Sept. 30.
McConnell also wants to take action to prevent a default on the federal debt and make progress in negotiating a bipartisan budget deal that could also head off a crisis when government spending also lapses on that date.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Ariz.) said there are even more items lawmakers need to pass before they can head for their vacation, including bills to renew the Coast Guard and the National Flood Insurance Program. Also pending, he said, are dozens of President Donald Trump’s nominees to fill key slots in the administration.
Cornyn acknowledged it’s “a perfectly human impulse” to want to put off decisions.
“But we really have a lot to do,” he said.
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