Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes' It's time to bury ZombieCare once and for all Marjorie Taylor Greene introduces bill to award Congressional Gold Medal to Rittenhouse MORE (R-Wis.) is warning that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 MORE's pitch that some Medicaid cuts included in the GOP ObamaCare repeal bill won't happen could undermine the legislation's chances.
Johnson said the bill could be "in jeopardy" after he confirmed with his GOP colleagues that the Kentucky Republican is privately telling members that some of the bill's efforts to reform and scale back Medicaid will never go into effect.
"I've confirmed those [remarks] from senators [who] those comments were made to, so I find those comments very troubling," the Wisconsin Republican told reporters Monday night.
He added that "last week I was strongly urging colleagues to vote motion to proceed, I'm not doing that right now."
Johnson initially said last week that he would vote to take up the bill, but repeatedly sidestepped saying on Monday night if he would help the bill get over the hurdle. He's expecting to discuss the issue with McConnell during a closed-door GOP lunch on Tuesday.
McConnell has no room for error. With a 52-seat majority and Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The omicron threat and Biden's plan to beat it Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' Paul, Cruz fire back after Fauci says criticism of him is 'dangerous' MORE (R-Ky.) expected to vote 'no,' he can't afford another GOP defection.
Johnson — who was largely written off by GOP leadership during last year's election — added that he viewed McConnell's private comments to his colleagues as "troubling" and a "real breach of trust."
McConnell is telling them " 'Don't worry about it. Those are too far in the future. Those will never happen,' " Johnson told reporters about McConnell's pitch. "All I can say is I confirmed that talking to other senators."
Johnson was one of four conservative senators who came out against the initial draft of the repeal bill. He added on Monday night that the GOP bill wasn't "the bill I would write. Not by a long shot."
Medicaid has emerged as a key sticking point for Republicans as they try to get 50 GOP senators to support their repeal and replace bill. Johnson told reporters he wants Medicaid expansion ended in order to protect "legacy" Medicaid.
But several GOP senators, many from states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare, remain on the fence and huddled with McConnell in his office late last week. Some of the bill's deepest cuts to the program could happen in 2026, which could give lawmakers time to scale them back.
Federal Medicaid funding could drop by as much as 39 percent over the next two decades under Senate Republicans' healthcare plan, according to a report presented at the National Governors Association meeting.