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President Donald Trump said during a gaggle with reporters at the White House on Wednesday that Republicans “have the votes for healthcare.”
“We have one senator that’s in the hospital. He can’t vote because he’s in the hospital,” Trump said.
It was one of several times he went on to make that false claim, according to the very authors of the latest version of the Republican healthcare bill that was pulled from a Senate floor vote this week.
“I’m almost certain we have the votes,” Trump said of the so-called Graham-Cassidy healthcare legislation. “But with one man in the hospital, we cannot display that we have them. Plus, some people want to go through a process just to make themselves feel better, that’s okay.”
Trump also tweeted Wednesday that “we have the HCare Vote.”
But Republicans do not have the healthcare votes.
Sen. Thad Cochran, whom Trump referred to as hospitalized, is recovering at home from a medical procedure. But even with his vote, there simply aren’t the necessary 50 GOP senators supporting the Graham-Cassidy plan for it to pass.
The GOP can only afford two Senate defections. While Trump is correct that Sen. John McCain expressed misgivings about the process which Graham-Cassidy was going through – the bill was scheduled to go to a vote just two weeks after its release – he also said he wants to move forward on a bipartisan basis.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also released a statement decrying the process, but her concerns centered around the details of the plan as well.
“Giving control back to the states and flexibility are ideas I can get behind,” Murkowski wrote. “But substance matters and the ability to validate data matters.”
Finally, Sen. Ted Cruz suggested last weekend that he was against the latest version of the legislation. He hinted that Sen. Mike Lee was opposed, as well.