McConnell assures White House he’s not changing strategy on ObamaCare repeal: report

McConnell assures White House he’s not changing strategy on ObamaCare repeal: report
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) reportedly reassured the White House this week that he is not changing strategy on passing ObamaCare repeal and replace legislation.

McConnell last week suggested that Republicans may seek bipartisan support to stabilize ObamaCare exchanges if current Republican efforts to repeal and replace the law fail.

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According to CNN, two White House officials said Friday they were caught off guard by McConnell’s statements. One official said the White House reached out to McConnell’s office for reassurance that the GOP leader wasn’t abandoning the current plan to repeal and replace the healthcare law.

“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private insurance market must occur," McConnell told constituents in Glasgow, Kentucky on Thursday. 

Trump suggested last week the Senate could change course to vote to repeal ObamaCare and then replace it later if the current GOP bill fails. Some Senate Republicans appeared to be warming to this idea last week. But McConnell said last week the Senate will continue to pursue a joint repeal and replace of ObamaCare.

We're "trying to figure out how to twist the dials to get to 50 to replace this with something better," he said.

McConnell might meet resistance if he tries to reach across the aisle on healthcare legislation. 

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said at a recent GOP event in Iowa that Republicans would be breaking their promises if they worked with Democrats prior to completely repealing the bill.

Plus in a statement Friday, the conservative political advocacy group Heritage Action said “talk of a bipartisan bailout of Obamacare…would embolden Republican moderates" and "would undermine honest efforts that empower states to get out from under Obamacare's burdensome regulations."

McConnell delayed a vote on the bill before July 4, the original plan, over concerns that it lacked the support from the 50 GOP Senators needed for it to pass.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas) and other Republican leaders announced they would not vote "yes" on the bill in its original form, and have proposed amendments needed to secure their votes.