WATCH: GOP Sen calls ObamaCare provision a “narrow surgical strike”

A GOP senator believes his party can pass a tax-reform measure that repeals the individual mandate that he calls a “narrow surgical strike,” despite the Senate Republicans’ inability to approve an ObamaCare replacement this summer. 

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“What we tried to do this summer was something very different,” than what is included in Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch’s tax-reform proposal, Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) said Wednesday. 

“It was a much broader repeal and an effort to build this whole alternative mechanism and structure at the same time; this is a narrow surgical strike,” Toomey said. 

Asked if Republicans have the votes to approve a tax bill with the new ObamaCare element, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters “we are working on it.” 

Toomey, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, added that GOP leaders didn’t add the individual mandate repeal “without discussing this with our colleagues, so this did not come as a surprise to any Republican senators.” 

A Senate Democrat pointed a finger at “billionaire contributors” for the Senate GOP’s last-minute individual mandate repeal. 

“There are three families that pretty much fund a big part of the Republican party — the Koch brothers, the Mercers and Adelsons, I think they demanded it. They hate the Affordable Care Act, they hated the president who pushed it through. That motivates them to pursue public policy that’s clearly not in our national interest,” Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape Dayton Democrat launches challenge to longtime GOP rep Dayton mayor: Trump visit after shooting was 'difficult on the community' MORE told The Hill in an interview.