Trump making calls to senators on healthcare bill

Trump making calls to senators on healthcare bill

President Trump spent Thursday and Friday calling senators to mobilize support for the GOP's healthcare legislation. 

Trump called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE (R-Ky.) on Friday and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias GOP lawmaker delays House for second week GOP lawmaker delays House for second week MORE (R-Texas) on Thursday, and has been in contact with several other senators, Reuters reported Saturday.

Cruz was one of four conservative senators who announced their opposition to the bill in a statement Thursday.

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“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor," the statement said.

Trump is expected to be in contact with more senators in the coming days. On Friday, press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump is optimistic about getting the bill passed.

"We're pleasantly surprised with a lot of the support that's already come out and I think we'll continue to work through [it], in particular the four individuals who have expressed some ideas and concerns," Spicer told reporters.

So far, five Republican senators have said they will oppose the bill. Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.) became the fifth GOP defection on Friday shortly after Spicer's comments.

"I’m announcing today that in this form, I will not support it," Heller said Friday during a press conference.

"It’s going to be very difficult to get me to a yes," Heller said. "You have to protect Medicaid expansion states. That’s what I want."

Republicans have a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate, so they can afford to lose only two votes, assuming Vice President Pence breaks a tie.