The White House tried Sunday to garner public support for the Senate’s upcoming vote on Republicans’ latest plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, with a top adviser to President Trump saying the pending legislation is still alive and that a “vast majority of Americans” will benefit.
“It’s not dead,” Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, told “Fox News Sunday.” “Here we are, just days away from a final vote, and we’re trying to win over the support of the last couple of senators to get there.”
Like previous Senate efforts this year to repeal and replace ObamaCare, the latest measure, the Graham-Cassidy bill, appears a few votes shy of passage.
The GOP-controlled chamber has until Sept. 30 to pass the legislation with a simple, 51-vote majority, under so-called budget reconciliation procedures.
However, at most 48 of the chamber’s 52 Republican senators appear to support the bill, which has no backing from Democrats.
“We need to make sure that we win over the last couple Republicans,” Short said. “That’s our path to victory.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Friday that he’ll vote no. And Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that she would have trouble envisioning a scenario in which she would “end up voting for the bill.”
Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz put the bill in even more jeopardy Sunday afternoon when he said its authors have effectively rejected proposed changes by him and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a fellow Republican.
"Right now they don't have my vote, and I don't think they have Mike Lee's either," Cruz said.
Meanwhile, fellow Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky, appear undecided.
“We hope we can earn his support,” Short said about Paul, whom Trump tried to persuade Saturday in a tweet.
“I know Rand Paul and I think he may find a way to get there for the good of the Party!” Trump tweeted.
The Graham-Cassidy bill, sponsored by GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy, of Louisiana, and Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, attempts to give states more flexibility in administering a federally-sponsored health insurance program by awarding them block grants to run their own, unique plans.
Short acknowledged that revisions continued to be made to the bill’s funding formula, but said no “significant” changes are being made, amid reports Alaska could get more money to sway Murkowski.
“We want this to be handled back (in) the states,” he told Fox News. “The vast majority of Americans will benefit with lower costs.”
The House this spring passed an ObamaCare overhaul bill. But the Senate has failed in at least two attempts, including a failed, final vote in August.