Ernst Says Obamacare Repeal Bill 'Unlikely' to Get a Vote

Sep 23, 2017

Sen. Joni Ernst told a loud crowd at the University of Iowa that it’s unlikely the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will come up for a vote.

The audience cheered when Ernst said the Graham-Cassidy bill likely won't go to a vote before a Sept. 30 procedural deadline. Sen. John McCain of Arizona announced his opposition to the bill shortly before Ernst’s appearance in Iowa City.

An audience member asked Ernst if the bill could "spring back to life."

Ernst said she can’t answer that.

"All I know is we do have two members that have stated firmly they will not be supporting," Ernst said. "There are likely others that will not be supporting it."

Ernst elicited boos when she said she is leaning toward a "yes" vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill. 

Ernst said she hopes a bipartisan effort to shore up individual health insurance markets resumes.

"I hope [Senators] Lamar [Alexander] and Patty [Murray] can come back again together, hopefully next week, and plan ahead on...what do we do now?" Ernst said. 

The junior senator’s first public meeting in Iowa City was punctuated by shouting and booing. At least two people were escorted out of the event by police. Progressive groups protested across the street. 

Ernst told reporters she expected it to be worse.

"I know that tensions are running high," Ernst said. "There’s a lot of passionate feelings in this area, but Iowa has once again proven that we can have civil discourse."