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GOP senator meets with Price, governors on healthcare

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) met with a top administration official on Monday as the White House tries to revive ObamaCare repeal after last week's setback in the Senate. 

The Louisiana Republican met at the White House with fellow physician Tom Price, President Trump's secretary of Health and Human Services, and governors to try to find a path forward on healthcare. 

Cassidy said after the closed-door strategy session that they had a "productive meeting." 

"There are many ideas in Graham-Cassidy-Heller and the Patient Freedom Act that can be next steps. I will continue to discuss these ideas with the administration, governors and folks back home, because the American people need relief," he said. 

The meeting comes as the Trump administration tries to restart efforts to repeal ObamaCare. Senate Republicans failed to pass a paired-down "skinny" repeal bill in a 49-51 vote early Friday morning.

Trump blasted GOP senators over the weekend, saying they were "total quitters" if they don't try again on their years-long pledge to repeal and replace the law. 

Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget chief, told CNN that the White House believes the Senate needs to pass a healthcare bill before moving on to other issues. 

The president also wants Republicans to gut the 60-vote legislative filibuster, saying they "look like fools and are just wasting time."

Cassidy's meeting comes after Trump met with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) at the White House on Friday, where they discussed the healthcare proposal that Graham is working on with Cassidy and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) that would transfer decision-making authority back to state governments. 

"I had a great meeting with the president," Graham said after the White House meeting. "President Trump was optimistic about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal. I will continue to work with President Trump and his team."

The proposal doesn't yet have a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis, meaning if Republicans wanted to bring it up as part of the fast-track reconciliation process it would need 60 votes. 

Conservatives are also working to keep ObamaCare repeal alive. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) predicted late last week that voter backlash would force GOP senators back to the negotiating table. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said he has been in touch with senators and has been urging them not to give up. 

"I just think that we've got to regroup and continue to stay involved and find something that has 51 votes in the Senate that we can make work," Meadows told reporters Friday.

But Senate GOP leadership has shown little interest in using the two weeks left before the August recess to re-litigate healthcare. 

After the vote failed on Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told senators that "it's time to move on."

-Updated at 6:58 p.m.