Key GOP senator: ObamaCare payments likely to be included in funding bill

Key GOP senator: ObamaCare payments likely to be included in funding bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump slams 'very dumb' O'Rourke for proposals on guns, tax exempt status for churches GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate Succession at DHS up in the air as Trump set to nominate new head MORE (R-Texas) said Wednesday that the Senate will likely include key ObamaCare payments in an end-of-year spending bill.

"I think that's likely to happen," Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican, told reporters when asked if the cost-sharing reduction payments would be included in the December funding bill.

Cornyn added that the legislation from Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGOP braces for impeachment brawl McConnell tightlipped as impeachment furor grows GOP senator: 'Inappropriate' to discuss opponents, but impeachment a 'mistake' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Biz groups say Warren labor plan would be disaster Freedom of the press under fire in Colorado MORE (D-Wash.), which would include two years of the ObamaCare payments to insurers in exchange for more flexibility to the states, could help lower premiums and "has merit."

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"I wouldn't do it as a stand-alone [bill] but I think with the repeal of the individual mandate it probably makes more sense," he said.

Republicans unveiled an updated tax plan on Tuesday night to repeal ObamaCare's individual insurance mandate, which has required most Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty.

But Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate War of words at the White House Lawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show MORE (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, said on Tuesday the Senate would also pass the Alexander-Murray bill as part of the trade off.

Alexander separately said on Wednesday whether or not to include the subsidy funding in the spending bill was up to Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump TSA head rules himself out for top DHS job   MORE (R-Ky.), but he would support the move.

Democrats have been clamoring for the Senate to pass legislation funding the payments or to include them in the year-end agreement. Lawmakers have until Dec. 8 to pass government funding legislation or face a shutdown.

Still, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' Mattis responds to Trump criticism: 'I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals' Democrats vow to push for repeal of other Trump rules after loss on power plant rollback MORE (D-N.Y.) warned on Wednesday that Democrats won't help pass Alexander-Murray if it's tied to the tax bill.

"The Republicans cannot expect to pass their own separate ideological health-care provision and then turn around and ask Democrats to vote to pass Alexander-Murray," Schumer said from the Senate floor.