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Ryan: Senate health bill 'tracks' closely with House bill

Ryan: Senate health bill 'tracks' closely with House bill
© Greg Nash

The newly released Senate GOP healthcare bill “tracks” closely with the bill House Republicans passed in May, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire Trump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) said Thursday, a development he called "very good."

Ryan said he had not yet read the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare but had been briefed by his staff. 

“From what I understand, their bill tracks in many ways along the lines of the House bill. I think that’s very good,” Ryan told reporters at his weekly news conference. “I’m not going to opine on their process. They gave us the space to go through our deliberative process. The last thing I want to do is be disrespectful of their process.

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“I think the bottom line is I want them to pass the bill so we can all get on with keeping our promise [to repeal ObamaCare].”

Ryan’s counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTim Scott to deliver GOP response to Biden's speech to Congress GOP state attorneys general urge Biden, Congress not to expand Supreme Court The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' MORE (R-Ky.), has said he’ll bring his bill to the floor next week after it’s scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

Asked whether the House would quickly take up the bill if the Senate manages to pass it or make further tweaks to it, Ryan said it’s too early to tell. 

“It’s premature to say ... They’re just beginning their process so we’re just not at that point of making that decision yet,” he said.

The Speaker also brushed off criticism from both Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans that the McConnell legislation had been written in secret — the same complaint Republican leaders made when Democrats were drafting the Affordable Care Act in 2009.

“This is sort of a talking point in search of a problem,” Ryan said. “You don’t release a bill before you finish writing the bill. You write the bill, then you release the bill. That’s what the Senate’s done.”