Facing defections, Senate GOP leaders delay health care vote

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Senate GOP leaders delay health care vote. Watch this ABC News report from Action News at 5pm on June 27, 2017. (WPVI)

In a bruising setback, Senate Republican leaders are delaying a vote on their prized health care bill until after the July 4 recess, forced to retreat by a GOP rebellion that left them lacking enough votes to even begin debating the legislation, two sources said Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered the message to GOP senators at a private lunch attended by Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

The decision was described by a Republican aide and another informed person who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the closed-door decision.

All GOP senators were planning to travel to the White House later Tuesday to meet with President Donald Trump, one source said.

McConnell had hoped to push the measure through his chamber by this week's end, before an Independence Day recess that party leaders fear will be used by foes of the legislation to tear away support.

The bill rolling back much of President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law has been one of the party's top priorities for years, and the delay is a major embarrassment to Trump and McConnell. At least five GOP senators - conservatives and moderates - had said they would vote against beginning debate.

Earlier coverage:
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Health care bill showdown: ABC's Lana Zak reports during Action News at noon on June 27, 2017.

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Local reaction to health care bill. Annie McCormick reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on June 26, 2017.

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Senate health care bill: Katherine Scott reports during Action News at 6 a.m. on June 27, 2017.

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politicsu.s. & worldhealth careObamacareaffordable care acttrumpcarePresident Donald Trump
(Copyright ©2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)