- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump tweeted his assurance Wednesday that Republicans will have enough votes to repeal Obamacare, one day after the GOP canceled its vote on the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill due to a lack of support.
“With one Yes vote in hospital & very positive signs from Alaska and two others (McCain is out), we have the HCare Vote, but not for Friday!” Trump tweeted.
Technically, the Senate has until midnight Saturday, September 30, to pass a healthcare bill using the process known as budget reconciliation. The reconciliation process allows the GOP to pass a bill with just 50 votes and avoid a Democratic filibuster.
Three GOP senators – Susan Collins, John McCain, and Rand Paul – publicly announced they would oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill. With only 52 Republican Senate members, the leadership and the bill’s authors yanked the vote.
As for the hospitalization, Trump appears to be referring to Thad Cochran from Mississippi, who is in his home state recovering from a urological issue but not hospitalized.
Since Trump dismissed the prospect of McCain getting on board, it would appear he believes that Collins and Paul could be flipped. Paul is adamant about a full Obamacare repeal, saying Graham-Cassidy did not go far enough in dismantling the law. Collins, on the other hand, believes that the law went too far in its cuts to Medicaid and weakening of protections for sick Americans.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski did not announce her opposition prior to the bill being pulled, but released a statement soon after expressing deep concern with aspects of the bill, similar to Collins’. Murkowski and Collins had voted against every previous Republican healthcare bill in July as well.
“We will have the votes for Healthcare but not for the reconciliation deadline of Friday, after which we need 60,” Trump said. “Get rid of Filibuster Rule!”
The request to get rid of the filibuster is not a new suggestion from Trump, who tweets the idea regularly. It is also one of the suggestions that most annoys Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to reports. Given the strained relationship between Trump and McConnell – Axios’ Mike Allen reports Trump has even taken to physically mocking the Kentucky senator in private – this tweet will likely not help repair that divide.