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Senate delays health care vote until after July 4 recess

Health care next steps

Senate Republican leaders on Tuesday delayed a vote on health care legislation until after the July 4 recess, CBS News has confirmed. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell informed GOP senators of the delay during their weekly luncheon Tuesday, as the GOP seemingly lacks sufficient support to pass the bill in its current form. 

"We're still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place," McConnell told reporters. He also referred to the bill as "an ongoing discussion," and said that several senators wanted more time.

It's "a big, complicated subject," and it's "hard to pull together and hard to pass," McConnell said, though he's "optimistic we're going to get to a result that's better than the status quo."

McConnell delays Senate health bill vote

Moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska welcomed the delay, telling reporters as she left the luncheon, "I think that was an important step. I certainly wasn't ready."  

"I think giving people time to digest is a good thing. I think when people are rushed and don't have answers and don't have data...the bill is small, but it affects a lot of people in a real way," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennesee, who said he stayed up until 4 a.m. ET reading the cost estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that was released Monday. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, told reporters, "The hope is that we can at least have an agreement on what we can get enough votes on this week and turn to it as soon as we come back" from July 4 recess.

All Republican senators have been invited to the White House for a meeting with the president about health care Tuesday afternoon. The White House is "very anxious to help," McConnell said. 

Several Republican senators, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah have expressed their opposition to the bill as it stands. And at least three Republican senators said they would not support a motion to proceed with the bill without changes.

The delay comes one day after CBO's report Monday that the Senate GOP bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured, just shy of the 23 million more people the House GOP bill would leave uninsured. 

Paul met with President Trump Tuesday afternoon, and said the president is willing to work on the bill. Last week, Mr. Trump tweeted that he is "very supportive" of the Senate bill. 

The Senate version of the health care bill would roll back the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, end the individual and employer mandates under Obamacare, and potentially allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions far higher premiums. 

The Senate is scheduled to recess next week for July 4. 

CBS News Chief White House Correspondent and Major Garrett, CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, and Capitol Hill Producer John Nolen and Rebecca Shabad contributed to this report. 

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