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

Republican Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRon Johnson subpoenas documents from FBI director as part of Russia origins probe Blumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections Democrats try to force Trump to boost medical supplies production 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 McConnellTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks 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.