Cruz pushes to revisit ObamaCare repeal this year

Cruz pushes to revisit ObamaCare repeal this year
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPoll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again Democrats veer left as Trump cements hold on Republicans O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation MORE (R-Texas) said Wednesday that he is pushing to revisit the repeal of ObamaCare this year.

Cruz told reporters that he thinks GOP leadership is interested "if we can get 50 votes."

"We have to bring the conference together to be able to move forward," he added.

ObamaCare repeal has largely faded as a GOP priority. Republican leadership has not expressed interest in diving back into the fight, given that it failed last year and there is no indication that the votes have shifted in the Senate. Senate leaders instead have said they want to focus on bipartisan issues this year.

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Additionally, GOP leaders hardly discussed the issue of ObamaCare repeal at a retreat at Camp David this month to discuss the 2018 agenda.

Still, some, like Cruz and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war Graham seeks new Rosenstein testimony after explosive McCabe interview Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general MORE (R-S.C.), are pushing to revisit the issue.

"I don't think leadership is interested in going down this road again until we can get 50 votes and so we need to do the hard work of bringing the rest of the conference together," Cruz said Wednesday. "I think we're still quite close."

He said he has been "speaking with a wide number of senators" about refocusing on the repeal of ObamaCare.

Cruz told the Washington Examiner earlier on Wednesday that he wants to set up the fast-track process known as reconciliation this year to allow legislation to repeal ObamaCare to pass with a simple majority. 

That process requires approving a budget first, however, and even that is seriously in doubt given the midterm elections later this year.

Asked about Cruz's comments, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight MORE (R-Alaska), a key "no" vote on repeal last year, dismissed the idea.

"I don't think we should be spending time trying to do repeal and replace of ObamaCare," Murkowski told reporters.

Updated at 2:09 p.m.