The Hill's Whip List: Decision time on Senate ObamaCare repeal bill

Senate GOP leaders lack the votes to pass their revised bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, with four Republicans opposing the bill.

Sens. Mike LeeMike LeeTrouble draining the swamp? Try returning power to the states Congress must act to protect data privacy before courts make surveillance even easier Five tough decisions for the GOP on healthcare MORE (R-Utah) and Jerry MoranJerry MoranRepublicans rebuke Trump over Charlottesville remarks GOP senator wants classified briefing on North Korea McConnell faces questions, but no test to his leadership MORE (R-Kan.) on Monday announced their opposition, joining Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulCurtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz Glimmer of hope in bipartisan criminal justice reform effort Trump barrage stuns McConnell and his allies MORE (R-Ky.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsOPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight The fight to protect the Affordable Care Act isn’t over MORE (R-Maine).

The second bill included changes to win more support from conservatives and centrist Republicans, but moderates withheld their support over cuts to Medicaid. And an amendment from Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThe media couldn't be more blatant in distorting Trump's words on Charlottesville Curtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz Kimmel: Let’s make Trump a king so he has no power MORE (R-Texas) to allow insurers to sell some plans that didn't meet ObamaCare requirements won over conservatives but worried centrists.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has 'level of sympathy' for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary MORE (R-Ky.) was also forced to delay the vote, planned for this week, after Sen. John McCainJohn McCainBush biographer: Trump has moved the goalpost for civilized society White House to pressure McConnell on ObamaCare McCain: Trump needs to state difference between bigots and those fighting hate MORE announced he would be in Arizona recovering from a surgery.

McConnell had little room for error. With only a 52-vote majority he could only afford two defections. All Democrats are expected to oppose any repeal bill, but Vice President Pence could be called in to break the tie.

Here’s a look at where McConnell’s conference stands on the legislation. The Hill will be updating this list.

Please send updates to mmali@thehill.com

Last updated at 10:22 p.m. July 17.

 

No (4)

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) — Collins said Thursday she would not vote to proceed on the new bill. "My strong inclination and current intention is to vote no on the motion to proceed," she told reporters. "The only way I'd change my mind is if there's something in the new bill that wasn't discussed or that I didn't fully understand or the CBO estimate comes out and says they fixed the Medicaid cuts, which I don't think that's going to happen." Collins opposed the first bill after seeing the CBO score and said it would take a “complete overhaul” for her to get to yes.

Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) — The conservative joined Paul, Johnson and Cruz in a statement opposing the first bill. On Monday night, he said he will not vote on the motion to proceed, saying, "In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations."

Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.) — Moran announced his opposition to the first bill after leaders delayed the vote. On Monday night, he teamed up with Lee to say he'll oppose the motion to proceed. "This closed-door process has yielded the [bill], which fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address healthcare’s rising costs. For the same reasons I could not support the previous version of this bill, I cannot support this one," he said in a statement. 

Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) — Paul is McConnell's fellow home-state senator but is a hard get. Paul has said he will oppose the revised bill, believing it leaves much of ObamaCare in place. He's also floated repealing ObamaCare now and having senators pass a replacement bill later.

 

Undecided/Unclear (21)

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoNo. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight The fight to protect the Affordable Care Act isn’t over Will Congress preserve monopoly power for healthcare lobbyists? MORE (W.Va.) — Capito said she does not know if she’ll vote to advance the new bill. “We have another meeting this afternoon on the Medicaid cuts,” she said Thursday. “I need to really look at it, look at the score, I still have concerns.” She has expressed concerns the first bill did not do enough to combat opioid abuse and cut Medicaid too deeply. Capito told Politico during the July Fourth recess that she will kill the repeal bill if it comes down to her. “If I have to be that one person, I will be it.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.) — Cassidy won headlines when he talked about how the bill needed to pass a "Jimmy Kimmel test" on whether it would prevent children with pre-existing conditions from getting coverage. Cassidy on Thursday said he was not sure if he would vote to advance the revised bill. Cassidy has worked with Collins on alternate legislation.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct How to fix Fannie and Freddie to give Americans affordable housing No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight MORE (Tenn.) — Corker was undecided on the first bill.

Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) — “I look forward to hearing directly from Montanans on this legislation,” Daines said about the first bill.

Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa)  Ernst did not take a position on Senate Republicans’ first healthcare reform bill and said she was polling her constituents to gauge their feelings on it.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeOPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct Club for Growth endorses Nicholson in Wisconsin GOP primary Immigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP MORE (Ariz.) — Flake is up for reelection in 2018. He said he would "thoroughly read and review it" after the first bill's release.

Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerScarborough: Trump has chosen the 'wrong side' Moore, Strange advance in Alabama GOP primary GOP senator: Nazis should 'go back to their hole' MORE (Colo.) — “If we can have opportunities to make the bill better, then by all means let’s take every chance and (all the) time we can,” he said of the first bill, according to the Denver Post.

Sen. Dean HellerDean HellerWhy 'cherry-picking' is the solution to our nation’s flood insurance disaster Club for Growth endorses Nicholson in Wisconsin GOP primary Sen. Heller reveals: I voted for Trump MORE (Nev.) — Heller said he is undecided on the revised bill. “I'm going to take a look at the bill,” he said Thursday. “We'll read it over the weekend and come up with a decision and see if there's any improvements.” He strongly opposed the initial bill, raising concerns about the phaseout of the Medicaid expansion. Heller is viewed as the most vulnerable GOP senator up for reelection next year, so his vote will be closely watched.

Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenGOP senator criticizes EPA head's closed-door meeting in North Dakota Senate GOP eyes end to August session McCain absence adds to GOP agenda’s uncertainty MORE (N.D.) — Hoeven “doesn’t support the bill as it stands,” according to The Bismarck Tribune over the July 4 recess.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonCEOs revolt against Trump over Charlottesville GOP senator: Trump hasn't 'changed much' since campaign Senators push for possible FCC enforcement over Lifeline fraud MORE (Wis.) — Johnson joined three of his colleagues in opposing the first bill. He said on July 17 that he was now undecided on the revised bill. He said he had heard from colleagues that McConnell had told some senators that efforts to scale back Medicaid wouldn't go into effect.

McConnell pushed back on that claim, saying he backed the cuts in the bill.

Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTrump signs Veterans Affairs bill at New Jersey golf club No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight Savings through success in foreign assistance MORE (Ga.) — Isakson was undecided on the first bill, saying that he was "fully and thoroughly reviewing it."

Sen. James Lankford (Okla.) — Lankford told CNN that he has found six areas where he has "problems and suggestions" on the first bill, adding "none of them are showstoppers ... but there are problems we need to fix before we get this into law." 

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) — McCain expressed concerns with the revised bill Thursday and said measures important to his home state had been left out. But he said he would vote to begin debate.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiFeds to sell 14 million barrels from oil reserve Immigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP Trump barrage stuns McConnell and his allies MORE (Alaska) — Along with Collins, Murkowski has suggested she might not back a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood. After the revised bill was released, she suggested addressing Medicaid reform separate from ObamaCare repeal. “Let’s leave Medicaid off the table for right now. Let’s bifurcate this,” she said. “This is not something that in my view is best done in a reconciliation process.”

Sen. David Perdue (Ga.) — Perdue was undecided on the first bill, saying he wanted to read it "in detail."

Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanCongress should think twice on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Senators push for possible FCC enforcement over Lifeline fraud The fight to protect the Affordable Care Act isn’t over MORE (Ohio) — Portman Thursday was unclear on whether he would vote to advance the revised bill. “I'm the same position I've been in. I'm looking at the language,” he said. Portman, along with Capito, opposed the first bill, saying it did not do enough to address the opioid epidemic. He has also expressed concerns about the cuts to Medicaid.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioScarborough: Trump has chosen the 'wrong side' THE MEMO: Trump reignites race firestorm RNC spokeswoman: GOP stands behind Trump's message 'of love and inclusiveness' MORE (Fla.) — After the first bill was released, Rubio's office said he would "decide how to vote on health care on the basis of how it impacts Florida." 

Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) Sasse said he was not committed to the Senate GOP’s first ObamaCare repeal bill. Sasse told conservative donors at a conference the bill was “largely a Medicaid reform package,” according to Vox. "This is not a full repeal or full replace piece of legislation, and that’s dictated by a whole bunch of circumstances. So we are having a conversation about something that’s much smaller than that.”

Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska) — In a statement after the first bill was released, Sullivan said he “will read every word” of it, looking closely at stabilizing the state’s insurance market, cutting costs and “providing a sustainable and equitable path forward for Medicaid.”

Sen. Thom TillisThom R. TillisSenators fight proposed tariffs on solar panels GOP senators rally to McConnell's defense amid Trump attacks The Memo: Signs of trouble emerge in Trump’s base MORE (N.C.) — Tillis has said the Senate's bill needs to be a "net improvement" over ObamaCare.

Sen. Todd YoungTodd YoungNo. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight Savings through success in foreign assistance Senate Dems propose crackdown on foreign lobbyists MORE (Ind.) — Young was undecided on the first bill but told a group in his home state that "doing nothing is not an option."

 

Yes/Leaning Yes (18)

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTrump to make ObamaCare payments to insurers for August CBO: ObamaCare premiums could rise 20 percent if Trump ends payments CBO to release report Tuesday on ending ObamaCare insurer payments MORE (Tenn.) — Alexander praised nearly a dozen measures in the first bill he thought benefitted his state. "To begin with, the draft Senate health care bill makes no change in the law protecting people with pre-existing conditions, no change in Medicare benefits, and increases Medicaid funding — that's TennCare — at the rate of inflation," he said in a statement. 

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoLacking White House plan, Senate focuses on infrastructure Effective climate protection means better policy and harnessing market forces GOP senators move to bolster border security, crack down on immigration MORE (Wyo.) — Barrasso touted the first bill during an interview with Fox News. "That's the only way we can fundamentally change away from Obamacare, get rid of all the hated mandates and the taxes and put Medicaid on a sustainable course long-term, get down the costs of care and insurance," he said.

Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) — Blunt praised the first bill, saying it "preserves access to care for people with pre-existing conditions, strengthens Medicaid and does not change Medicare, gives people more health insurance choices, and allows people to stay on their family health insurance plan until they are 26." 

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSenate chairman hopes to wrap up Russia investigation this year Lawmakers seek to interview Trump secretary in Russia probe Senate Dem wants closer look at Russia's fake news operation on Facebook MORE (N.C.) — Burr said the initial bill was "not perfect" but "does provide the funding we need to support our most vulnerable North Carolinians."

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynImmigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP Congressional investigations — not just special counsels — strengthen our democracy Wrath of right falls on Google MORE (Texas) — Cornyn is the No. 2 Senate Republican. "The time to close the book on Obamacare is now. Our plan will help deliver access to better care at a price the American people can actually afford," he said of the initial repeal bill.

Sen. Mike CrapoMike CrapoYou're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat GOP debates tax cuts vs. tax reform Conservative groups urge Trump to stick with Ex-Im Bank nominee MORE (Idaho) — Crapo praised the first repeal bill "as a promising step toward maintaining affordable care.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) — Cruz told reporters on Thursday he would back the new bill that includes an amendment from him to allow insurers to sell plans that don’t meet ObamaCare requirements. "If this is the bill, I will support this bill," Cruz said. But he cautioned, "Now, if it’s amended and we lose the protections that lower premiums, my view could well change."

Sen. Mike EnziMike EnziSenate panel might not take up budget until October Debt group urges GOP chairman to avoid budget 'gimmicks' Fiscal hawks call for ‘mini-bargain’ on budget MORE (Wyo.) — Enzi praised the initial legislation in a statement, saying that "after months of hard work, Senate Republicans are proposing solutions to address the challenges to health care created by Obamacare that are affecting millions of hardworking families."

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Trump's Charlottesville rhetoric 'dividing Americans, not healing them' OPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct Supporting 'Dreamers' is our civic and moral duty MORE (S.C.) — Graham said he was leaning toward supporting the first bill, but acknowledged its CBO score would cost it votes.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — The Senate majority leader said Republicans "believe we have a responsibility to act and we are for our constituents, for our states and for our country" when he unveiled the first bill.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchHatch urged Trump to ‘speak clearly’ against hate groups The Memo: Trump tries to quiet race storm Senators push FTC to finalize changes to contact lens rule MORE (Utah) 

Sen. Pat RobertsPat RobertsNo. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight Overnight Healthcare: McConnell warns Senate not to block repeal debate | Insurers knock Cruz proposal | WH tries to discredit CBO | Lawmakers propose .1B NIH funding boost Trump: I’ll be ‘very angry’ if Senate doesn’t pass ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (Kan.) — Roberts had said he wanted get feedback from his state, but also offered a strong endorsement of the first bill.

Sen. Mike Rounds (S.D.) — Rounds called the first bill a “step in the right direction” Thursday. 

Sen. Tim ScottTim ScottRepublican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville Trump turns on GOP Congress Reporter drops notebook, hits GOP senator on head during late-night session MORE (S.C) — “I’m close to yes,” Scott told reporters on the first bill.

Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.) — Shelby told Bloomberg on the initial bill: "I'm going to support this bill. I want to see all the details."

Sen. John ThuneJohn ThuneWaymo taps Senate Commerce staffer for government affairs team Billboard ads target Republicans who want to roll back net neutrality GOP debates tax cuts vs. tax reform MORE (S.D.) — The No. 3 GOP senator said in a statement that the first bill "isn't perfect" but "represents a far better and more responsible approach to caring for the American people than the 2700-page disaster that is Obamacare."

Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) — Toomey called the bill a “first step” toward repealing ObamaCare. “Some of my conservative friends who are concerned that the bill doesn't go far enough. I am sympathetic about the kinds of reforms they would like to make to lower premiums through more market forces and greater freedom on the part of consumers, but I see this bill as a first step,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. "It's not the last step.”

Sen. Roger WickerRoger WickerBillboard ads target Republicans who want to roll back net neutrality GOP senator compares ObamaCare repeal effort to 'Dunkirk' GOP senators ask Trump to hold off on Venezuelan oil sanctions MORE (Miss.) — Wicker said the initial bill "represents another step to move us away from the unworkable aspects of Obamacare and toward a smaller government approach."