President Trump used Twitter on Sunday afternoon to urge Republicans to follow through on their pledge to get rid of the healthcare law pushed by his predecessor.
His tweet came as two moderate Republican senators indicated Sunday that the initial GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation’s healthcare law was probably “dead” and Trump’s proposal to just repeal it appears to be a “nonstarter.”
“We don’t know what the plan is,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Clearly, the draft plan is dead. Is the serious rewrite plan dead? I don’t know.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation, said it may now be time for Republicans to come up with a new proposal with support from Democrats.
“I think my view is it’s probably going to be dead,” McCain said of the GOP bill. If Democrats were included, he said, it doesn’t mean “they control it. It means they can have amendments considered. And even when they lose, then they’re part of the process. That’s what democracy is supposed to be all about.”
Signaling his pessimism as well, Sen. Charles E. Grassley wrote on Twitter late Saturday that Republicans would lose their Senate majority if they didn’t pass healthcare legislation. The Iowa Republican said the party should be “ashamed” that it hasn’t been able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
The White House, anxious for a legislative victory on healthcare, insisted that it fully expected a GOP repeal and replace bill to pass in the coming weeks that would fulfill Trump’s pledge to end Obamacare. Democrats have ruled out negotiating with Republicans unless they work to fix the law, not repeal it.
“Whether it’d be before August recess or during August recess, the president expects the Senate to fulfill the promises it made to the American people,” said White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
At least 10 GOP senators have expressed opposition to the initial bill drafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Republicans hold a 52-48 majority and Democrats stand united against the bill, meaning that just three GOP defections will doom it. The weeklong July 4 recess only raised more doubts among senators as many heard from constituents angry about the GOP bill and the prospect of rising premiums.
McConnell last week said he would introduce a fresh bill in about a week scuttling and replacing much of former President Obama’s healthcare law. But McConnell also acknowledged that if the broader effort failed, he may turn to a smaller bill with quick help for insurers and consumers and negotiate with Democrats.
Trump tweets push for healthcare bill as 2 more GOP senators say it’s ‘dead’