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No. 2 Senate Republican: 'We're going to have 50 votes' on healthcare

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) voiced confidence Tuesday that Republicans will be able to pass their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, even while acknowledging they don't yet have finalized legislation.   

"It's my job to find 50 votes, and we're going to have 50 votes. ... I just don't see [us] doing nothing," the Senate majority whip told reporters, when asked if Republicans would bring up a healthcare bill even if they thought it would fail. 

 

Pressed if Republicans had the needed votes, Cornyn added that "we don't have a bill yet, but I'm confident we will." 

 

Cornyn's comments come as Republicans are eyeing a vote on repealing and replacing ObamaCare as soon as next week before lawmakers leave town for a week-long recess. 

 

McConnell hasn't publicly backed voting before the July Fourth recess, but top senators have said they expect a vote next week. Cornyn said on Tuesday that it's his "hope" that the Senate will be able to meet the self-imposed deadline. 

 

"But I've also said, failing that, I've always said we need to get it done by the ... end of July," the Texas Republican said.

 

Cornyn's comments are a shift for top Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who have pledged for months that they would have a healthcare vote but held back from guaranteeing that their proposal will pass. 

"I don't know how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell told Reuters in an interview late last month. "And exactly what the composition of that [bill] is I'm not going to speculate about because it serves no purpose." 

Republicans have a narrow path to clearing an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill through the Senate. They hold 52 seats, meaning they can lose two GOP senators and allow Vice President Pence to break a tie. 

 

But several senators, including key moderate and conservative votes, have raised public concerns about the closed-door negotiations, and crucial provisions such as when to phase out ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion. 

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) separately predicted that the Senate healthcare bill would be released this week. Cornyn declined to confirm that but argued a week was enough time to review the healthcare legislation. 

"Absolutely, I mean we've only been debating this for seven years," Cornyn said. 

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