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 CornynAbbott bows to Trump pressure on Texas election audit Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook Democrats up ante in risky debt ceiling 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 BluntRoy Blunt has helped forge and fortify the shared bonds between Australia and America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley announces reelection bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B 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 GrahamNorth Dakota Republican latest House breakthrough COVID-19 case Texas House Republican tests positive for coronavirus in latest breakthrough case Graham told Trump he 'f'd up' the presidency: book 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 CollinsLooking to the past to secure America's clean energy future Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike 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 HellerTexas abortion law creates 2022 headache for GOP Heller won't say if Biden won election Ex-Sen. Dean Heller announces run for Nevada governor MORE (Nev.), the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican up for reelection, and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanRepublicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks Anti-Trump Republicans on the line in 2022 too Major US port target of attempted cyber attack MORE (Ohio) reiterated after the Thursday vote that they could not support the House bill in its current form.