Some congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump arent giving up on their effort to roll back the health care law and are trying to write legislation that could get 50 Republican votes, according to multiple administration and Capitol Hill sources.
Trump met with three Republican senators on Friday about a proposal from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). to block grant federal health care funding to the states and keep much of Obamacares tax regime. White House officials also met with House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), according to two sources familiar with the meeting.
Trump savaged Senate Republicans in a series of Saturday morning tweets as ineffective, blaming the arcane budget reconciliation rules that make it more difficult to fully repeal and replace Obamacare on party lines.
In theory, the Senate could bring back up their party line budget reconciliation effort to gut Obamacare as soon as next week. Grahams bill has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office and did not receive a test vote this week. It currently has a small group of supporters and will likely need major work to pass the Senate, like language defunding Planned Parenthood which would likely alienate a pair of moderate senators.
Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Dean Heller of Nevada joined Graham at the White House on Friday, and each has joined Grahams bill as the new alternative plan for Republicans. The bills supporters are telling administration officials and congressional aides that the bill will score far better than previous efforts, which CBO analyses project would cause millions more uninsured people and short-term spikes in premiums.
Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska would have to reverse course on opening debate on the bill for things to move forward in August without McCain. Republican senators are angry at Trump for calling Murkowski this week to rethink her opposition to the GOPs effort, several Republican sources said.
The moderate Alaska senator told E&E News that the conversation on Tuesday with Trump was not a very pleasant call. Several Republicans said privately Trumps heavy hand derailed any chance of getting Murkowski to support the skinny bill, which was meant as a way to send the GOPs repeal efforts into conference with the House.