Senate Republicans face a frenzied uphill battle to pass their newly unveiled Obamacare replacement bill by the time they break for the Fourth of July recess, with as many as four GOPers resisting the legislation as written.
“It sounds like Obamacare to me,” Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told Fox News Channel yesterday. “It doesn’t even sound like Obamacare-lite. In some areas, it may be Obamacare-plus.”
Paul and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah are the four GOP holdouts who could block passage. Republicans can only afford to lose two within their own party — assuming no Democrats jump on board — to secure a 50-50 tie, which Vice President Mike Pence would have to break.
Cruz lamented that the Senate bill “doesn’t do nearly enough,” but remained hopeful they can broker a deal.
“We can get this done,” Cruz told reporters. “We can get to yes.”
But caving to the conservative holdouts could risk losing members of the moderate wing of the party. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine already expressed concerns about the bill yesterday, including its block on federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the 142-page bill yesterday, still intent on pushing a vote next week.
Democrats and even some Republicans have criticized drafting the bill behind closed doors and rushing the vote.
President Obama posted a 900-word statement on Facebook yesterday, decrying the Senate bill as a gift to the rich at the expense of the poor.
“If there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family — this bill will do you harm,” Obama wrote.
It’s unclear exactly what role President Trump — who tweeted last night that he supports the bill — will play in trying to unite Republicans before their recess.
Also yesterday, Trump revealed that he does not possess recordings of his conversations with FBI Director James Comey, as he had suggested in a tweet last month.
“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” he wrote on Twitter.
Trump had strung along the public and reporters for weeks, refusing to say one way or the other whether the tapes existed. But Trump faced a deadline of today to turn over any tapes — if they existed — to the House Intelligence Committee.
(c)2017 the Boston Herald
Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.