WATCH: GOP senator: Trump may be a great dealmaker 'after all'

A GOP senator calls President Trump’s deal with Democrats on the debt ceiling “ironic,” since it freed up the chamber to make a last-ditch press for ObamaCare repeal.


“There's a little bit of irony in that maybe President Trump's a pretty good dealmaker after all,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said Wednesday.

Kennedy said Senate Republicans would have run out of time before the Sept. 30 deadline, “had the Democrats not struck a deal with the president on the debt limit and the continuing resolution.” 

Still, it’s unclear if the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill will win approval in the Senate — and Democrats are reaching out to a handful of GOP holdouts to oppose the measure, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said in an interview.

Asked if the Democrats are “making progress,” Durbin said, “I don’t know ... it comes down to three (Senate Republicans) — several of them haven’t made it public where they’re going to be so we have to wait and see.” 

As for the end of the bipartisan effort to “fix” ObamaCare, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said, “It’s never really been a bipartisan effort ... an effort that would not fail.” 

Durbin, however, disagreed.

“We were making real progress ... But now (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell (R-Ky.) seems to be pulling the plug on it,” Durbin said. “That’s unfortunate.”

As for the overall success of the Graham-Cassidy effort, Hatch said, “As of a couple of days ago most people thought it might not make it. People are starting to think it might have a chance.”