Senate Republicans ended July in humiliating and seemingly final defeat over repealing and replacing ObamaCare, but relentless pressure this weekend from President Trump and reports of yet another potentially winning bill have sparked renewed hope of success within the party.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reportedly has a new overhaul plan for the Senate, where senators will return Monday because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has revoked the first two weeks of their traditional August recess.
Trump also met privately with several Senate Republicans on Friday, according to Politico, which also first reported about the Graham proposal.
The president then launched into a very public Twitter rant this weekend in which he said Senate Republicans “look like fools” for trying and failing for essentially the entire month to pass an overhaul plan.
“It’s time to move on,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Friday, after the last repeal attempt failed.
The president -- sounding desperate to fulfill a major campaign promise in ending ObamaCare -- also suggested McConnell lower the vote threshold from 60 to 51 votes and that he might yank the subsidies that members of Congress receive to pay for their ObamaCare policies.
“The world is watching,” Trump said in a final, chiding tweet Sunday morning.
Beyond taking away Congress’ subsidies, Trump also hinted at ending subsidies to insurance companies that offer policies under ObamaCare.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump will make that decision “this week.”
She also called the subsidies received by congressional members and their staffers a “really sweet deal” and argued, “This is exactly what so many Americans hate about Washington, D.C.”
“The president will not accept those who said it is, quote, time to move,” she also said.
Trump said Friday after the failed votes, as he has before, that he aimed to let the 2010 health care law “implode” under its own weight of rising premium costs and few insurance policy options.
However, he and essentially every Washington Republican have been elected on a promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
The GOP-led House passed its overhaul measure this spring, but not without the same kinds of problems faced by the Republican-led Senate, include how to get support from all wings of the party.
They are divided on such key issues as whether Medicaid should be expanded and whether subsidies should continue to be provided to insurance companies, apparently for low-income families to pay for policies.
The Senate has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats and Independents who vote, or caucus, together.
Democrats say they are willing to work on solutions to ObamaCare but so far have not participated in the process.
The GOP-controlled House and Senate for the past several years have passed dozens of either full- or partial-repeal measures. But they have failed to do so since Trump, a fellow Republican, took office in January.
Several GOP senators have balked at the recent measure and amendments, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Collins said Sunday that the ObamaCare issue remains unsettled and that the Senate must get back to work.
“Our job is not done,” she told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There are serious problems with (ObamaCare.) ... And I certainly hope the administration does not do anything in the meantime to hasten that collapse.”