WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying a new health care strategy after the “repeal and replace” measure failed. McConnell says he will push the Senate to pass a clean repeal bill.
The Republican leader made the announcement in a statement that came a few hours after two Republican senators dealt a fatal blow to the replacement bill unveiled last Thursday, meaning McConnell lacked the votes to move ahead.
Sens. Jerry Moran and Mike Lee joined two other senators in opposing the legislation, meaning McConnell lacked the votes to move ahead. The two senators issued separate statements late Monday saying they can’t support the legislation. They join two other Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, in opposition.
With just a 52-48 majority in the Senate, Lee and Moran’s resistance means Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cannot move ahead on the bill.
Lee says he can’t support the bill because it doesn’t repeal all of the Obamacare taxes and doesn’t go far enough to lower premiums.
Moran says, “We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy.”
McConnell says, “regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.”
McConnell says that in the coming days, the Senate will consider the House-passed bill, with the first order of business a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay.
He is not saying when the vote will occur.
President Donald Trump says Republicans should just repeal the nation’s current health care law and work on a new plan that starts from a “clean slate.”
Trump tweeted his message Monday night after two more GOP senators announced their opposition to legislation he backs. The defections left Republicans short of the votes they need to pass the measure.
Trump says that if Republicans start fresh, “Dems will join in!”
Republican lawmakers have spent the last several months working to both repeal the law passed under President Barack Obama and pass an overhaul package.