Senate

GOP senators drop push to delay ObamaCare repeal

A group of Senate Republicans announced Wednesday night that it is dropping its formal push to delay the deadline for ObamaCare repeal legislation. 
 
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said from the Senate floor that they are withdrawing their amendment to a budget resolution after “thoughtful” conversations among GOP senators about how to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 
 
“I know a date has been put in this reconciliation of Jan. 27, and we realize that is not a real date,” he said. “It’s a placeholder.” 
 
{mosads}The Senate’s budget resolution, which includes the rules for ObamaCare repeal, gives senators until late January to come up with legislation to nix the Affordable Care Act. Under a proposal from five GOP senators, including Corker, they would have had until Mach 3. 
 
The budget resolution is expected to pass late Wednesday or early Thursday. 
 
Corker and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) signaled on Wednesday night that Senate GOP leadership was open to giving lawmakers more time to work out a repeal legislation beyond the January deadline. 
 
“Everyone here understands the importance of doing it right, giving [Rep.] Tom Price [R-Ga.], the new [Department of Health and Human Services] person, the time to weigh in and help us make this work in the appropriate way,” he said. 
 
Portman added that “we have assurances from leadership … that this date is not a date set in stone.” 
 
“It is the earliest we could do it but could take longer and we believe that it might,” he said. 
 
It’s unclear if the GOP senators had enough support to pass their amendment. 
 
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, warned on Tuesday that delaying the repeal legislation could lead to a “jam” on the Senate floor. 
 
“I don’t think we should delay it any more than we have to because we have a second budget resolution that we want to pass to get reconciliation instructions for tax reform,” he said.
 
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) separately voiced skepticism on Wednesday, saying repealing ObamaCare through reconciliation had a “shelf life.”
 
Republicans have been publicly divided about how to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

President-elect Donald Trump said during a press conference on Wednesday that repeal and replace would move nearly simultaneously if not at the same time. 

“It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be, essentially, simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week. But probably the same day — could be the same hour,” he said.

But Graham — whom Trump mocked during the press conference — told reporters that the president-elect “needs to call [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.], because that’s not where we’re headed.”

Tags Bob Corker Donald Trump John Cornyn Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Rob Portman

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