Senate

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

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Sen. John Cornyn (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. 
 
{mosads}A leaked draft of the House bill has sparked backlash among Senate Republicans, potentially complicating the path for ObamaCare repeal in the upper chamber. 
 
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) created a media spectacle on Thursday when he searched, copy machine in tow, for a draft of the House GOP plan. 

“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 Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (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 Collins (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. 

Tags Dean Heller John Cornyn Kevin Brady Lisa Murkowski Mike Lee Rand Paul Rob Portman Susan Collins Ted Cruz
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