President Donald Trump President urged Senate Republicans via Twitter to make good on a years-old campaign promise by passing legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. | Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump turned up the pressure Friday morning on Senate Republicans, urging them via Twitter to make good on a years-old campaign promise by passing legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.
GOP leadership in the Senate has introduced legislation that would undo former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, but the repeal-and-replace measure has proven controversial even within the Republican caucus and it is unclear if the bill will be able to muster enough support to pass.
Story Continued Below
“Republicans Senators are working hard to get their failed ObamaCare replacement approved. I will be at my desk, pen in hand!” Trump, who is in France attending Bastille Day celebrations with French President Emmanuel Macron, wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “So impt Rep Senators, under leadership of @SenateMajLdr McConnell get healthcare plan approved. After 7yrs of O’Care disaster, must happen!”
The president also praised Vice President Mike Pence, who played a key role in shepherding the House’s repeal and replace legislation to passage, for his work on the Senate bill. Trump also warned Republicans that they must make good on their long-made campaign promise to do away with Obamacare.
“After all of these years of suffering thru ObamaCare, Republican Senators must come through as they have promised!” Trump wrote. “@VP Mike Pence is working hard on HealthCare and getting our wonderful Republican Senators to do what is right for the people.”
In a Friday morning interview on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Pence “has been our greatest asset up on Capitol Hill all along, but particularly this week,” as GOP leaders have worked to revise their healthcare legislation to appease more members. Democrats, Conway said, have been “very unserious in these negotiations” and have only presented options deemed unworkable by Republicans.
And while the fate of the repeal-and-replace measure ultimately rests with Senate Republicans, Conway said the president has been involved throughout the process.
“As you know, President Trump is very hands on. He works the phones. He hosts meetings. We’ve had any number of members of congress and senators here, governors, frankly, over time. We’ve also had Obamacare victims. We’ve had drug manufacturers,” she said. “This is a seven-and-a-half-year sinking battleship and those turn slowly. But The president is always involved. That said, it’s up to the senate to put this legislation on his desk and he’s made very clear he has pen in hand.”
Support for the repeal-and-replace bill in the Senate has broken down on either end of the GOP political spectrum, much as it did in the House before a last-minute compromise was forged. Senate conservatives, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have balked at the bill because, they say, it does not go far enough in undoing Obamacare, while moderate GOP lawmakers, like Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), have said the measure’s cuts are too deep for them to support.
With a path to passage still unclear on the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this week that he would keep the chamber in session through the first two weeks of its scheduled August recess. With a narrow, 52-seat majority in the Senate, Republicans can afford to lose the votes of just two GOP lawmakers and still pass with the benefit of Pence’s tie-breaking vote.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said chamber will go on its scheduled recess but will return to Washington should the Senate manage to pass a bill. Any legislation passed by the Senate would need to be reconciled with the House version before it can be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law.