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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell expects Paul to return to Senate next week Former Hill staff calls for mandatory harassment training Gaming the odds of any GOP tax bill getting signed into law 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 GrahamCNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill Trump wrestles with handling American enemy combatants Flake: Trump's call for DOJ to probe Democrats 'not normal' MORE (R-S.C.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid GOP senator: CBO moving the goalposts on ObamaCare mandate CNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill MORE (R-La.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDemocratic Homeland Security members request additional DHS nominee testimony Key differences between the Senate and House tax plans Senate panel delays vote on Trump’s Homeland Security pick MORE (R-Wis.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerBipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program Dem donor on MSNBC: 'Hopefully we'll get our sh-- together' The Hill interview — DNC chief: I came here to win elections 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.

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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 McCainGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore GOP strategist: 'There needs to be a repudiation' of Roy Moore by Republicans World leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report MORE (Ariz.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMoore digs in amid mounting GOP criticism Republicans float pushing back Alabama special election Moore defends himself as pressure mounts 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 CornynAfter Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Overnight Defense: Lawmakers question military's lapse after Texas shooting | Trump asks North Korea to 'make a deal' | Senate panel approves Army pick Overnight Regulation: House passes bill to overturn joint-employer rule | Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid | Lawmakers 'alarmed' by EPA's science board changes 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 CollinsBipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program A bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Gaming the odds of any GOP tax bill getting signed into law MORE (R-Maine).

GOP Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senator asks to be taken off Moore fundraising appeals Red state lawmakers find blue state piggy bank Prosecutors tell Paul to expect federal charges against attacker: report MORE (Ky.) has called the bill “Obamacare lite” and said he will not support it.