Republicans again fail to push through plan

Republicans were dealt another defeat in their efforts to eliminate former President Barack Obama's national health care overhaul when their plan to repeal Obamacare failed Wednesday to pass in the Senate.

The 45-55 vote harpooned the effort that would have repealed the health care law without replacing it.

In all, seven Republicans joined their colleagues across the aisle in opposition to the amendment, under which the repeal would not go into effect for two years, giving Republicans time to craft a replacement plan.

The vote was the second major blow to Republicans in as many days.

A comprehensive amendment that would have repealed and replaced Obamacare with a plan created by the Senate's Republican leadership failed Tuesday to pass in the chamber.

Republicans are now likely to shift their attention to chipping away at parts of the Affordable Care Act, including its provision that all Americans must have health coverage, and tax increases used to fund the program.

The efforts are collectively known as a "skinny repeal", but what that would ultimately look like is uncertain.

But with a narrow 52-48 majority and all Democrats and Independents opposed to efforts to roll back Obamacare, Republicans will have to continue to thread an extremely narrow needle if their effort is to make it to a joint House-Senate negotiating committee.

House Republicans narrowly passed their plan in May, and any successful Senate effort, which at this point is likely to be limited to amendments to the existing legislation, will almost certainly require the special session.

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a grouping of far-right Republicans, said a "skinny repeal" has "zero chance" of passing in the House.

"If it's coming back skinny, it won't be an up or down vote," he told reporters at the Capitol, according to CBS News.

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