Key senator whipping last-ditch ObamaCare repeal bill

Greg Nash

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is measuring support for a new bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare as lawmakers head toward an end-of-the-month deadline. 

The vote-counting process, known as “whipping,” will give GOP leadership a tentative count of which senators support the legislation spearheaded by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.). 
“What I told Senator Graham is we would work to try to get a sense of where people were … so my hope is we’ll get that preliminary information back in the next few days,” Cornyn said, when asked about the vote counting. 
{mosads}He added the process could also identify members who are undecided or have follow up questions. 
Graham and Cassidy, as well as GOP Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.), introduced legislation this week to end funding for ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies that help people afford coverage and the money for Medicaid expansion. 
Instead, the bill would convert the funding into block grants to states. 
But the legislation faces an uphill effort to getting through the Senate by the end of the month—when the special budget rules that allow the healthcare bill to pass by a simple majority will expire. 
Republicans are currently waiting to get a score back from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which would say how much the bill would cost and how many individuals would gain or lose insurance coverage. 
They would also need to win over at least 50 Republican senators, which could be an uphill battle after they failed to clear a “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill in July and with many of their colleagues eager to move on. 
The bill was also discussed during the closed-door GOP caucus lunch on Thursday, with Graham and Cassidy making a presentation. 
Graham said after the fact that he thought they had gained support and was happy with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) response in the lunch. 

“He encouraged everybody to jump on board….I’m very pleased with the leader’s response,” Graham said.  

The GOP senator added that “I can tell you this if we had a vote right now we would get 47, 48 votes.” 
Tags Bill Cassidy Dean Heller John Cornyn Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Ron Johnson

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