Two GOP senators back ObamaCare repeal after Ryan call

Two GOP senators back ObamaCare repeal after Ryan call
© Greg Nash

Two GOP senators said they were willing to support the Senate passing a "skinny" repeal bill after Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.) assured them that the two chambers would go to conference.

Five GOP senators — Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it Overnight Defense: Graham clashed with Pentagon chief over Syria | Talk grows that Trump will fire Coats | Coast Guard officer accused of domestic terrorism plot Graham cursed at acting DOD chief, declaring himself his 'adversary' MORE (S.C.), David Perdue (Ga.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority GOP senator voices concern about Trump order, hasn't decided whether he'll back it MORE (Wis.), Mike Rounds (S.D.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate CNN ripped for hiring former Republican operative as political editor: 'WTF?!?!' The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? MORE (Texas) — spoke with Ryan via phone in Sen. John CornynJohn CornynO’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate O'Rourke mulling another Senate run as well as presidential bid Texas senator introduces bill to produce coin honoring Bushes MORE's (Texas) leadership office outside of the Senate floor. 

"Yes, he said, listen why would we want to own a bill that increases premiums and doesn't fix ObamaCare — that's all I wanted to hear from him," Graham told reporters when asked if Ryan guaranteed the House wouldn't pass a paired down Senate repeal bill.

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Pressed if he would vote "yes" on the Senate GOP healthcare bill after his conversation with Ryan, Graham said he would.

Johnson added that "of course" the talk with Ryan was enough to assuage his concerns. 

"We just wanted to hear it right from Paul. ... We got that assurance. He said we could tell you — this is going to go to conference," the conservative GOP senator said.

Johnson added that any bill that passes the Senate "will not pass the House. This will go to conference. ... That's what we got." 

Johnson and Graham, as well as GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Where are good faith and integrity? GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (Ariz.),  warned earlier Thursday that they could not support moving forward with a "skinny" repeal bill until they got a guarantee that the House would not leapfrog a conference with the Senate and pass the bill.

Paul issued a statement saying the House was "willing" to go to conference on the healthcare bills, but that it was up to Senate Republicans to first show they could pass a bill. 

McCain told reporters while heading into the Senate chamber for a pair of votes that Ryan's statement wasn't sufficient.

He then appeared to walk that back slightly, telling Bloomberg that he declined to say how he would vote, saying he wanted to talk to his state's governor.

Separately, Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants GOP senator: Border deal is 'a very good compromise' Push to include contractor back pay in funding deal hits GOP roadblock MORE (R-W.Va.) told reporters while leaving the GOP caucus room that she "didn't know how to interpret" Ryan's statement.