Republicans Scramble to Shore Up Support for Healthcare Bill

June 25, 2017, 8:20 PM UTC

Republican Senators are working through the weekend to evaluate and respond to a health care bill introduced on Thursday by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell and other leaders, meanwhile, are trying to rally support for a vote on the bill this week, but may be short of the support necessary to pass it.

The Republican health care bill is uniformly opposed by Democratic Senators, but could pass without them if Republicans line up. But, as tallied by the New York Times, five Republican Senators—most of them staunch fiscal conservatives—have already said they will not support the current version of the bill. Only two Republicans need to defect to kill the bill.

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McConnell may be pushing for speedy passage because that disunity is only getting worse. Activists and health organizations have argued that the bill’s sweeping cuts to Medicaid would be life-threatening to many Americans.

Meanwhile, President Trump has sent mixed messages about the health care reform priorities that partly fueled his campaign. He earlier called a House reform bill, which contained similar funding cuts, “mean.”

Amid the scrum, there are signs Republican opposition is only growing. GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who has not yet said she will vote against the bill, expressed reservations towards it to news outlets today. The Times also reports that Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is on the fence, despite specific provisions in the bill meant to benefit her state.

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