No. 2 Senate Republican: 'No timeline' on ObamaCare replacement bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are signaling they are in no hurry to move legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare after it passed the House Thursday.

“There is no timeline,” Sen. John CornynJohn CornynRepublicans go to battle over pre-existing conditions Senate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer Senate staff to draft health bill during recess MORE (Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said when he was asked about a schedule for when the Senate could move a bill.

Asked if action during the current work period running through the end of the month was “realistic,” he added: “There is no timeline. When we get 51 senators, we’ll vote.”

The House narrowly passed legislation, the American Health Care Act,  in a 217-213 vote, fulfilling a years-long pledge and sending the bill to the Senate.

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Sen. Roy BluntRoy BluntSenators unveil infrastructure investment bill GOP nears total exasperation with Trump GOP senators pitch Merrick Garland for FBI director MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, also signaled that Republicans are focused on getting a deal that can pass rather than sticking to a specific timeline.

“I can’t imagine there will be a rush to take up the bill as much as a real concentrated effort to find where the 51 votes might be if the 51 votes are still available,” he told reporters.  

The House GOP bill is expected to have to undergo significant changes in the upper chamber to meet budgetary rules that would allow it to block a Democratic filibuster.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyDems plot recess offensive on ObamaCare The case for protecting America's intelligence agency whistleblowers Senate confirms Trump's first lower-court nominee MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he had been asked if lawmakers would be able to pass a bill by June 19 — a key date for insurance companies — but couldn't commit to the timeline.

“I said there’s no assurance I can give you from a substance standpoint or a process standpoint for when that’s going to happen because there’s been such little discussion,” he said.

McConnell has convened a working group of senators as they look for legislation that could pass the upper chamber. Cornyn noted the group met for a second time on Thursday. Lawmakers could also need to go a conference with the House to work out their differences, which would drag out the process.

The hedging on a timeline for the Senate comes after Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Calling climate change a 'hoax' bad for GOP Graham: Comey should be held accountable for acting on bad intel Trump got harsher GOP reception than Bush on budget MORE (R-S.C.) raised concerns about the rapid pace the House took to pass the legislation. The House voted on the bill even though it did not have a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score.

Several moderate GOP senators came out against an initial version of the House bill that was pulled from the floor in March, over concerns about what happens in their states to ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, the federal low-income healthcare program.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsDems plot recess offensive on ObamaCare Senate takes lead on Trump’s infrastructure proposal Navy leaders defend Trump's lackluster ship budget MORE (R-Maine) urged her colleagues to not move health legislation quickly.

“I think we should take as long as necessary to do the job right, and we certainly need the CBO analysis on the impact of cost and coverage...before we can produce our own bill,” she told reporters.

GOP Sen. Dean HellerDean HellerDems plot recess offensive on ObamaCare Trump got harsher GOP reception than Bush on budget New CBO score triggers backlash MORE (Nev.), the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican up for reelection, and Rob PortmanRob PortmanSens submit bill to 'Hack the DHS' CBO score underlines GOP tensions on ObamaCare repeal Senate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer MORE (Ohio) reiterated after the Thursday vote that they could not support the House bill in its current form.