McConnell: New ObamaCare repeal bill has 'great deal of support'
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate tees up Yemen vote for Tuesday Senate confirms Trump's border chief House leaves out ObamaCare fix from must-pass funding bill MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the most recent bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare is "intriguing" as his caucus mulls bringing it up for a vote next week. 

"It's an intriguing idea and one that has a great deal of support. As we continue to discuss that legislation, I want to thank Senator Graham and Senator Cassidy for all of their hard work," McConnell said from the Senate floor. 

McConnell's comments mark the first time he's publicly weighed in this week on the bill, which is gaining momentum as Republicans face an end-of-the-month deadline to repeal ObamaCare with a simple majority.

The bill from Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP: Legislation to protect Mueller not needed Cornyn: Hearing on McCabe firing would be 'appropriate' McCain: Mueller must be allowed to finish investigation 'unimpeded' MORE (R-S.C.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyHere is a health care proposal that could actually work Senators target 'gag clauses' that hide potential savings on prescriptions Kimmel: Political pleas on health care have cost me commercially MORE (R-La.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate GOP shoots down bill blocking Trump tariffs Possible North Korea summit raises anxiety in Washington Wisconsin Republican would sign on to bill to nullify Trump tariffs MORE (R-Wis.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerRepublican drops Senate primary challenge to Heller after Trump's urging Three states where Dems can pick up Senate seats GOP senator: Justice Kennedy is going to retire this summer MORE (R-Nev.) would end funding for Medicaid’s expansion and the health-care law’s subsidies that help low-income people buy insurance. In their place, block grants would be given to states.


Republicans have, so far, failed at making good on their yearslong campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Under the special budget rules being used, GOP leadership needs to win over 50 of their 52 senators, which would allow Vice President Pence break a tie. 

If they want to pass a health-care bill with a simple majority, allowing them to bypass a Democratic filibuster, they need to pass legislation by the end of September.

Several key senators, including GOP Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump informally offered Cohn CIA job before changing his mind: report Schiff: I thought more Republicans would speak out against Trump Trump presses GOP to change Senate rules MORE (Ariz.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiProposed budget for Indian Health Services won't treat Native American patients equally Keep anti-environment riders for Alaska out of spending bill Industry should comply with the Methane Waste Prevention Rule MORE (Alaska), are undecided on the bill. Both McCain and Murkowski met with McConnell on Monday. 

Graham and Cassidy have both said they have roughly 48 GOP senators supporting the bill, putting them short — but close to — the required 50 votes.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynTrump adds to legal team after attacks on Mueller Senate tees up Yemen vote for Tuesday Senate GOP: Legislation to protect Mueller not needed MORE (R-Texas) is weighing support for the repeal bill within the GOP caucus but declined to discuss how many votes Republicans have.

"I'm not going to tell you what my whip back is but we're working on it. There's still a lot of question because it has changed," he said on Tuesday. "I'm more hopeful now than I have been. It's sort of like Lazarus raised from the dead."

If the bill were to come to the floor, Senate leaders would likely need to win over two of the three Republicans who voted no on the "skinny" ObamaCare bill over the summer: Murkowski, McCain and Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsHouse leaves out ObamaCare fix from must-pass funding bill Senate considers vote to add ObamaCare fix to spending bill ObamaCare deal in danger of falling out of spending measure over abortion fight MORE (R-Maine).

GOP Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump informally offered Cohn CIA job before changing his mind: report Congress moving to end US involvement in Yemen Congress races to finish .2 trillion funding bill MORE (Ky.) has called the bill “Obamacare lite” and said he will not support it.