Senate GOP expected to take another swing at Obamacare repeal

By Juliegrace Brufke

Following a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, GOP senators said they are going to resume negotiations on the Obamacare repeal bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has struggled to gain the support needed to pass the reconciliation bill, with members from different factions of the conference railing against its language and the process with which it was constructed. Multiple lawmakers came out against the proposal of a clean repeal Tuesday in the wake of four members announcing they wouldn’t vote for the revised version of the measure.

“Next week we’ll be voting on the motion to proceed, and I have every expectation that we’ll be able to get on the bill,” McConnell told reporters after the meeting.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson — who was on the fence about voting in favor at the start of the week — said he thought the meeting with the president was productive in helping bring members together.

“I’m hoping this [White House] meeting snatched a victory out of the jaws of defeat,” he told reporters. “I know the president was strongly in favor of repeal and replace. And … the BCRA [Better Care Reconciliation Act] would be hopefully the starting point.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he’s optimistic they will be able to reach an agreement at least a simple majority will feel comfortable supporting.

“It has been a process of bringing together Republicans and reaching consensus — that process has been ongoing for months. I think we are making significant progress, and I believe we will get it done and honor that commitment to repeal Obamacare,”  he told reporters. “We are continuing to work to resolve those disagreements.”

Conservatives have argued that the revised bill doesn’t do enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act, while moderates have voiced concerns over cuts to Medicaid in expansion states.

Lawmakers have a number of provisions they need to iron out before the bill can pass, according to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

“I think that there is going to be a lot more discussion before there’s a motion to proceed,” she told reporters.

Senate Republicans are slated to meet Wednesday evening in an attempt to restart the process of reaching a consensus on the measure.

“We’re going to continue to work. A bunch of us are going to meet tonight, everybody’s basically been invited,” Johnson said. “But the folks who have concerns, that have some outstanding issues, we’ll get together tonight and, hopefully, we can common each other’s views and get to that result.”

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