Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate upper chamber will wait until the third week of August to take a six-week vacation, allowing Republicans additional time to attend to legislative priorities such as the health care bill.
According to his statement, McConnell says that after addressing “its work on health care reform,” the Senate will turn its attention to “other important issues.” He lists the National Defense Authorization Act and backlogged nominations as items on the agenda.
McConnell blamed Democrats for the nomination delays, writing they “have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle.”
Republican Senator Ben Sasse (Neb.) agreed with the change. “Leader McConnell is right — Washington needs to take promises more seriously,” he said, adding that his colleagues should “work 6 days a week, 18 hours a day” to reach an agreement.
Earlier Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced that a group of Republicans had been working on a separate, “fundamentally different” ObamaCare replacement bill, this one with with bipartisan appeal that could solve the standoff on health care reform.
“I’m working with some senators to come up with a new approach to deal with how to replace ObamaCare. I think it will potentially attract some Democrats,” Graham said, indicating details would be available in “24 to 48 hours.”
McConnell is also set to reveal his own within that time frame. Reportedly, that bill may preserve taxes on high-income earners, an item absent from the original draft and which Democrats called a tax cut for the wealthy. If included, the taxes could generate $231 billion over 10 years, according to reports.
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