No. 2 Senate Republican: 'No timeline' on ObamaCare replacement bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are signaling they are in no hurry to move legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare after it passed the House Thursday.

“There is no timeline,” Sen. John CornynJohn CornynKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says Seven things to know about the Trump trial New Parnas evidence escalates impeachment witnesses fight MORE (Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said when he was asked about a schedule for when the Senate could move a bill.

Asked if action during the current work period running through the end of the month was “realistic,” he added: “There is no timeline. When we get 51 senators, we’ll vote.”

The House narrowly passed legislation, the American Health Care Act,  in a 217-213 vote, fulfilling a years-long pledge and sending the bill to the Senate.

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Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntRoberts sworn in to preside over Trump impeachment trial Senate opens Trump impeachment trial Seven things to know about the Trump trial MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, also signaled that Republicans are focused on getting a deal that can pass rather than sticking to a specific timeline.

“I can’t imagine there will be a rush to take up the bill as much as a real concentrated effort to find where the 51 votes might be if the 51 votes are still available,” he told reporters.  

The House GOP bill is expected to have to undergo significant changes in the upper chamber to meet budgetary rules that would allow it to block a Democratic filibuster.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate begins preparations for Trump trial Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat Appeals court skeptical of Trump rule on TV drug ads MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he had been asked if lawmakers would be able to pass a bill by June 19 — a key date for insurance companies — but couldn't commit to the timeline.

“I said there’s no assurance I can give you from a substance standpoint or a process standpoint for when that’s going to happen because there’s been such little discussion,” he said.

McConnell has convened a working group of senators as they look for legislation that could pass the upper chamber. Cornyn noted the group met for a second time on Thursday. Lawmakers could also need to go a conference with the House to work out their differences, which would drag out the process.

The hedging on a timeline for the Senate comes after Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump Roberts sworn in to preside over Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.) raised concerns about the rapid pace the House took to pass the legislation. The House voted on the bill even though it did not have a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score.

Several moderate GOP senators came out against an initial version of the House bill that was pulled from the floor in March, over concerns about what happens in their states to ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, the federal low-income healthcare program.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPoll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator Collins says she's 'likely' to support calling witnesses for impeachment trial Democratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment MORE (R-Maine) urged her colleagues to not move health legislation quickly.

“I think we should take as long as necessary to do the job right, and we certainly need the CBO analysis on the impact of cost and coverage...before we can produce our own bill,” she told reporters.

GOP Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerLobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play This week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report MORE (Nev.), the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican up for reelection, and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico Republicans brush off Trump's call for impeachment dismissal GOP leadership: There aren't 51 votes to dismiss Trump articles of impeachment MORE (Ohio) reiterated after the Thursday vote that they could not support the House bill in its current form.