The Latest: McConnell says he'll stick with his health bill

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Posted: Jun 30, 2017 9:55 PM
The Latest: McConnell says he'll stick with his health bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Senate GOP health care bill (all times EDT):

8:20 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected President Donald Trump's advice to first repeal President Barack Obama's health care law and then replace it later with something else.

McConnell says the current health care bill remains challenging but "we are going to stick with that path."

Trump tweeted earlier Friday that if Republicans could not reach a consensus on the current bill, they "should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!" Several Republican senators signed on to Trump's plan.

But McConnell is showing no interest in that strategy. He told a gathering of Republicans in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, that "failure has to be possible or you can't have success."

McConnell says, "It's not easy making American great again, is it?"

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3:15 p.m.

The White House says it remains "fully committed" to pushing through a health care plan in the Senate but is "looking at every possible option" to repeal and replace the Obamacare law.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump "hasn't changed his thinking at all" about the struggling health care bill.

Trump tweeted earlier Friday that if Republican senators are unable to pass the Senate bill, "they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"

Republican senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ben Sasse of Nebraska have called for that approach.

Sanders says the White House is focused on the "end product" which she says is repealing and replacing the health care law.

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10:40 a.m.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is declining to comment on the president's suggestion that the Senate vote now to repeal the Obama health care law, and vote later to replace it. But that idea was rejected months ago by GOP leaders in the House and Senate.

They considered it politically unwise, since it could draw accusations that Republicans are simply tossing people off coverage without helping them get medical care.

President Donald Trump's suggestion came in an early-morning tweet, which said, "If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"

The idea isn't without supporters in the Senate. They include Republicans Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Kentucky's Rand Paul.

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6:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump has tweeted about the sputtering Senate health care bill.

Trump says: "If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"

That's an approach advocated by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who's said he opposes the bill, which would do both at once. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponed a vote on the bill Tuesday because of opposition from conservatives and moderates. He's trying to nail down changes by this weekend to assure the bill's passage after the July 4 recess.

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3:35 p.m.

Top Senate Republicans hoping to rescue their push to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul may try doing it by preserving one of his tax boosts on the rich.

It's a break from dogma by a party that has long reviled tax boosts, and most things achieved by Obama. But it could help attract votes from moderate Republican senators.

And it underscores Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's feverish effort to yank one of his and President Donald Trump's foremost priorities from the brink of defeat.

The money would instead be used to bolster their proposed health care subsidies for lower-income people.

In a bid for conservative support, Senate leaders are also considering an amendment to let insurers offer plans with low premiums and scant benefits.