GOP senator: Tax reform more likely to come before ObamaCare repeal

Republican Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThe Hill's Morning Report — Category 5 Mueller storm to hit today GOP senators double down on demand for Clinton email probe documents Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks MORE (Wis.) is predicting that a tax-cut bill is more likely to come before legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare this year.

"The tax reform is an easier lift,” Johnson told radio host John Catsimatidis in an interview that aired Sunday on AM 970 in New York.

“Healthcare is a problem because ObamaCare is such a mess. I mean, it is collapsing insurance markets,” the Wisconsin senator added.

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“We may have to break this into two pieces. Do kind of a real triage, a short-term measure to stabilize the markets, then take our time and actually have a healthcare bill that will restrain the cost in healthcare."

Several GOP senators have voiced skepticism about plans to repeal and replace ObamaCare after House Republicans passed a bill early last month.

Deep divisions exist among senators over different aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including its Medicaid expansion.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage The Hill's 12:30 Report: Inside the Mueller report MORE said recently that he wasn't sure how Republicans could get enough support to pass a healthcare bill, suggesting that passing major tax legislation would be easier.

Vice President Pence on Saturday called on senators to pass healthcare reform legislation by the end of the summer, pushing back on Republicans who have questioned the ability to pass a bill this year.