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 RyanPaul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won election: 'It was not rigged. It was not stolen' Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms To cut poverty and solve the labor shortage, enhance the Earned Income Tax Credit MORE (R-Wis.) assured them that the two chambers would go to conference.

Five GOP senators — Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (S.C.), David Perdue (Ga.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes Internal poll shows Barnes with 29-point lead in Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate facing 4 felony charges MORE (Wis.), Mike Rounds (S.D.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails The Memo: Like the dress or not, Ocasio-Cortez is driving the conversation again Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (Texas) — spoke with Ryan via phone in Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime 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 McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements 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 CapitoOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Capito grills EPA nominee on '#ResistCapitalism' tweet GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (R-W.Va.) told reporters while leaving the GOP caucus room that she "didn't know how to interpret" Ryan's statement. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' Capito grills EPA nominee on '#ResistCapitalism' tweet Hassan launches first ad of reelection bid focusing on veterans' issues MORE (R-Ky.) will need 50 of 52 GOP senators to support the "skinny" repeal proposal, which he unveiled on the Senate floor on Thursday night.