WATCH: Senate leader had hard needle to thread on healthcare, Collins says

A key moderate Republican in the Senate said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had a “difficult needle to thread” trying to move an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill through the upper chamber.


“I believe the leader had a very difficult needle to thread, and it may well have been impossible to do so,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — who was a key holdout who helped sink the bill — said in an interview with The Hill’s Molly K. Hooper. 

Despite McConnell’s failure to move the bill, Collins was quick to respond, “I do,” when asked if she has faith in his leadership.

Another holdout, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), was less willing to bolster his state’s senior senator. 

Asked if he still has faith in McConnell, Paul responded simply, “I’m encouraged that we're moving toward a clean repeal; it's what I've advocated for a long time.” 

GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and John Kennedy (La.) refused to blame McConnell for the intraparty stalemate over repealing ObamaCare. 

Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, called McConnell an “excellent leader” with a “tough job.” 

Kennedy said he “absolutely, unconditionally,” has faith in the GOP leader before adding, “I don’t think this is Senator McConnell’s fault.”