Key senator whipping last-ditch ObamaCare repeal bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Air Force makes criminal reporting changes after Texas massacre We need a better pathway for allowing civilians to move guns across state lines MORE (R-Texas) is measuring support for a new bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare as lawmakers head toward an end-of-the-month deadline. 

The vote-counting process, known as "whipping," will give GOP leadership a tentative count of which senators support the legislation spearheaded by GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTax bill could fuel push for Medicare, Social Security cuts Collins to vote for GOP tax plan Overnight Tech: Lawmakers want answers on Uber breach | Justices divided in patent case | Tech makes plea for net neutrality on Cyber Monday MORE (La.). 
 
"What I told Senator Graham is we would work to try to get a sense of where people were ... so my hope is we'll get that preliminary information back in the next few days," Cornyn said, when asked about the vote counting. 
 
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He added the process could also identify members who are undecided or have follow up questions. 
 
Graham and Cassidy, as well as GOP Sens. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDems look to use Moore against GOP Senate hearing shows Fed chair nominee acts the part Senate GOP votes to begin debate on tax bill MORE (Nev.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' GOP chairman warns of ISIS's ‘cyber caliphate’ Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him MORE (Wis.), introduced legislation this week to end funding for ObamaCare's insurance subsidies that help people afford coverage and the money for Medicaid expansion. 
 
Instead, the bill would convert the funding into block grants to states. 
 
But the legislation faces an uphill effort to getting through the Senate by the end of the month—when the special budget rules that allow the healthcare bill to pass by a simple majority will expire. 
 
Republicans are currently waiting to get a score back from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which would say how much the bill would cost and how many individuals would gain or lose insurance coverage. 
 
They would also need to win over at least 50 Republican senators, which could be an uphill battle after they failed to clear a "skinny" ObamaCare repeal bill in July and with many of their colleagues eager to move on. 
 
The bill was also discussed during the closed-door GOP caucus lunch on Thursday, with Graham and Cassidy making a presentation. 
 
Graham said after the fact that he thought they had gained support and was happy with Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE's (R-Ky.) response in the lunch. 
 
"He encouraged everybody to jump on board....I'm very pleased with the leader's response," Graham said.  
 
The GOP senator added that "I can tell you this if we had a vote right now we would get 47, 48 votes."