Trump stops short of ObamaCare deal endorsement
President Trump expressed appreciation for work on a bipartisan ObamaCare deal in a meeting with GOP senators on Tuesday but did not endorse the bill, multiple lawmakers said.
“He just encouraged us to continue to work on it. He made it clear that he appreciated what Sen. [Lamar] Alexander [R-Tenn.] was doing,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said.
But Trump did not endorse the bill. “He just said continue to work on it,” Rounds said.
A Senate GOP aide said Trump turned to Alexander in the lunch and said: “Thanks for your great work on health care. It’s good, it’s good.”
The bipartisan plan was crafted by Alexander and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Health Committee.
Senate Republicans have been looking to Trump for guidance on the bill, but the president has given mixed signals.
The lunch on Tuesday does not appear to have cleared up confusion over whether Trump supports the measure.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Sunday that he would bring the bill up for a vote if Trump supported it.
The path forward was further complicated on Tuesday when Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) put forward their own, more conservative, rival bill.
The Alexander-Murray bill aims to stabilize ObamaCare markets by funding payments to insurers for two years, in exchange for more flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules.
The Hatch-Brady bill would fund the payments but also repeal ObamaCare’s individual insurance mandate for five years, a nonstarter for Democrats.
This story was updated at 3:22 p.m.