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Could Sen. Cruz's Amendment Save the GOP Health Care Bill?


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet another potential obstacle to passing the Republican Obamacare replacement bill: Sen. Ted Cruz. 

Along with Sen. Mike Lee, Cruz has introduced a bill that would allow insurers to offer stripped-down "non-Obamacare compliant" plans, if they already offer compliant plans. 

Some say that this amendment could help Mitch McConnell win over conservative senators' votes -- and he needs each and every one of them. Both FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, two very conservative groups, have already backed the measure. 

Others think it will sink the bill by costing it the votes of moderates. No matter the reason, the amendment is already dividing Republicans in the Senate.

“I would say that if we voted on the Cruz proposal, it would be in the neighborhood of 37 to 15 against, 37 "no" votes and 15 "yeses," and that’s probably generous,” a congressional aide told The Hill. 

The Republican health care bill is already on the edge of failure, as McConnell was forced to cancel the vote right before July 4 recess, presumably because he could not get the votes to pass it. At least 10 GOP senators, including Cruz, Lee and Sen. Rand Paul, have said they would vote against the current bill.

In addition, four Republican senators (including Sen. Ben Sasse) have said they have major "concerns" about the current bill, but did not say how they would vote. 

Cruz insists his amendment will help get these straggling senators on board with the bill. But from the government shutdown of 2013 to the Export-Import Bank debate of 2015, McConnell has always seen Cruz as a thorn in his side. 

The bill needs to hit over 50 votes to pass the Senate. 

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