Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy didn’t seem too concerned if the Senate fails to vote on healthcare reform by Congress’ July 4 recess.
“It’s not like your wife’s birthday. You miss your wife’s birthday, there is hell to pay,” the Louisiana lawmaker said Thursday. “On the other hand, if you don’t cut the grass on Friday but do it on Saturday it is not a big deal. I am not saying it isn’t a big deal, but you know what I am saying.”
Cassidy wasn’t the only Republican to be skeptical of the Senate meeting a goal of voting on a healthcare bill before the weeklong July 4 recess that starts at the end of the month. Republican leadership has pushed the goal of a vote by then, but no legislative text has emerged and major divisions remain in the GOP conference over Medicaid and other issues.
Complicating a July 4 vote that no text has been publicly released, which has rankled some Republicans who want any bill to receive a fair amount of scrutiny.
“We need time to fully understand it,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. “I don’t want to see us vote before the July 4 break. I think that would be too soon.”
Johnson said he hoped that there would be a short-term bill to stabilize markets, separate from a long-term overhaul. But no such bill has emerged.
He understood the reluctance by leadership to put together a short-term bill now.
“By not doing anything we have put pressure on ourselves to get this completed,” he said.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., summed up the mindset surrounding the July 4 goal.
“It is a hope, an aspiration, [and] it’s a plan,” the third-ranking GOP senator said Thursday.
But Thune then issued an important caveat.
“You’ve got to be realistic based on where we are,” he said.
Other Republicans were more optimistic about a vote before the recess.
“I do think that there is no line in the sand, but it does feel like we are gonna be ready by the end of this period,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.