Top GOP senator: Senate will take up House ObamaCare repeal bill
© Getty Images

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Texas) said on Thursday that Senate Republicans will take up a forthcoming House ObamaCare repeal bill rather than formulate an alternative bill.

The Senate's No. 2 Republican said that it was "correct" that the way forward for the upper chamber was to wait and see the House bill, then take up that legislation.
 
"No, we're working with the House. The goal is for the House to pass a bill that we can then take up and pass here in the Senate," Cornyn added, when asked if Senate Republicans were working on their own plan.
 
If the Senate changed the House bill, it would have to be bounced back to the lower chamber to be passed for a second time. 
 
Cornyn's comments come after Senate Republicans huddled with Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas) to discuss ObamaCare strategy and a forthcoming plan from the House. 
 
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the panel will hold a markup of its ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill next week. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
A leaked draft of the House bill has sparked backlash among Senate Republicans, potentially complicating the path for ObamaCare repeal in the upper chamber. 
 

“We want to see the bill. We have many objections,” Paul said outside of the room where House Republicans could see the plan, after tweeting that he was trying to get a copy for the American people.

Paul as well as GOP Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzEl Chapo's lawyer fires back at Cruz: 'Ludicrous' to suggest drug lord will pay for wall Democrats have a chance of beating Trump with Julian Castro on the 2020 ticket Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again MORE (Texas) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Push for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 New act can help us grapple with portion of exploding national debt MORE (Utah) demanded "full repeal" of ObamaCare earlier this week, arguing that the 2015 repeal bill should be the bare minimum for the new effort.

If the three senators vote together, they have the ability to sink any ObamaCare repeal bill that they oppose. The Senate GOP will need 51 votes to clear legislation through the upper chamber by passing it through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process, meaning that they can only afford to lose two Republican senators. 

But legislation similar to the 2015 repeal effort could draw backlash from moderate GOP senators, including Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Congress must step up to protect Medicare home health care MORE (R-Maine). Some centrist Republicans are also raising concerns about what happens to ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion in their home states. 

GOP Sens. Shelly Moore Capito (W.Va.), Dean Heller (Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rob Portman (Ohio) have concerns about repealing the Medicaid expansion. 

Republicans face a tight timeline to coalesce behind one proposal. Cornyn told a handful reporters on Wednesday night that he expects the Senate to vote on ObamaCare repeal by early April.