Administration

Trump squeezes ‘no’ vote Heller at healthcare lunch

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President Trump sat next to Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), an opponent of the Senate GOP’s bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, at a White House lunch designed to salvage the effort.

Trump used the seating arrangement to pressure Heller, joking about him wanting to “remain a senator.”

“Any senator who votes against debate says you are fine with ObamaCare,” Trump said.

Heller, considered one of the GOP’s most endangered 2018 incumbents, has a fraught relationship with the White House over his stance on healthcare.

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An outside group aligned with Trump announced last month it would launch a seven-figure ad buy against the Nevada senator for opposing the repeal-and-replace bill.

The group, America First Policies, scrapped the ads at the urging of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Trump used a strategic seating arrangement at the last all-senators healthcare meeting at the White House, placing himself between Sens. Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Both senators opposed the repeal-and-replace plan and have said they would not vote to advance an alternative repeal-only bill backed by McConnell.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) sat on the other side of the president on Wednesday.

This report was updated at 12:55 p.m.

Tags Dean Heller Dean Heller Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act replacement proposals Susan Collins Tim Scott

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