GOP pessimism rising on ObamaCare repeal – The Hill

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Senate Republicans are returning to Washington increasingly pessimistic about their plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

They’ve had to put off plans for a vote next week, and they’ve seen loyal members either double down on their opposition to the bill, or at least question whether they will back it.

Sen. Jerry MoranJerry MoranGOP pessimism rising on ObamaCare repeal Conservative warns McConnell to not give up on ObamaCare repeal McConnell signals doubts about ObamaCare vote MORE (R-Kansas)—a “no” vote that took many in Washington by surprise—distanced himself the closed-door process used to draft the Senate bill.

“It takes two parties who want to come together. Not just Republicans. Not just Democrats,” he said during a polite, but pointed, meeting with constituents in rural Kansas.Asked if he could support the bill, Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP pessimism rising on ObamaCare repeal Grassley: More than 1,400 US Marshals Service employees using expired body armor Lynch spox: Ex-Obama official didn’t discuss Clinton probe with DNC MORE (R-Iowa) told constituents that “I don’t know if we’re even going to get a bill up,” according to the Des Moines Register.

Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenGOP pessimism rising on ObamaCare repeal Senate Republicans say they’re weeks away from healthcare vote The Hill’s Whip List: GOP undecided, ‘no’ votes pile up on ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-N.D.), who normally aligns with leadership, also came out as “no” over the recess break.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP pessimism rising on ObamaCare repeal Conservative warns McConnell to not give up on ObamaCare repeal The Hill’s 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.) appeared to suggest that Republicans might need to move to plan B involving stabilizing insurance markets if they can’t pass their bill.

“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to private health insurance markets must occur,” he said at a Rotary Club meeting in Kentucky.

The gloomy outlook highlights why McConnell had sought to finish work on the repeal-and-replace legislation before the July 4 recess.

McConnell didn’t want his members to face additional pressure over the break, and he also wasn’t keen on spending more time on healthcare. His conference now faces a marathon three-week session to take action on the issue.

The caucus remains deeply divided with rank-and-file members signaling they don’t believe they are close to a deal that could capture 50 votes.

“We’re still several weeks away from a vote, I think,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said a televised Q & A event, while dozens of protesters urged him to oppose the Senate bill.

Moran added that there wasn’t “significant consensus” on how to fix healthcare.

“[It’s] almost impossible to try to solve when you’re trying to do it with 51 votes in the United States Senate, in which there is not significant consensus on what the end result ought to be,” he said.

Leadership held a flurry of closed-door negotiations before the recess as they tried to reach deals that would win over undecided lawmakers, including adding more money for opioid treatment.

With a slim 52-seat majority, McConnell can only afford to lose two GOP senators and still let Vice President Pence break a tie. With Hoeven’s defection there are roughly 10 GOP senators publicly opposed to the bill.

“Compared to how optimistic I was the week before now … I’m very pessimistic,” Grassley told constituents in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, before adding that he thinks Congress will get something done even if repeal now and replace later.

Republicans have campaigned for years on repealing and replacing ObamaCare, arguing the Affordable Care Act is “failing” and in a “death spiral,” and insisting that the law is not fixable.

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