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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick 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 GrahamOvernight Health Care: Watchdog finds Tom Price improperly used funds on flights | Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen | HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts: report Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (R-S.C.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Lawmakers pitch dueling plans for paid family leave New push to break deadlock on paid family leave MORE (R-La.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator: Harley-Davidson is right to move some production overseas GOP senator: Trump’s policies doing 'permanent damage' GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE (R-Wis.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerJacky Rosen hits Dean Heller over health care in first negative ad GOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 McCainRand Paul ‘concerned’ about Kavanaugh Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 MORE (Ariz.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 Overnight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law 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 CornynRussians' indictment casts shadow ahead of Trump-Putin summit Top GOP senator: Trump should be 'clear-eyed' going into meeting with Putin Doug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee 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 CollinsDem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 Overnight Health Care: Watchdog finds Tom Price improperly used funds on flights | Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen | HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts MORE (R-Maine).

GOP Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul ‘concerned’ about Kavanaugh Rand Paul on Russia indictments: We should focus on protecting elections instead of 'witch hunt on the president' Sunday shows preview: Trump readies for meeting with Putin MORE (Ky.) has called the bill “Obamacare lite” and said he will not support it.