The Latest: GOP health care divisions multiply

AP News
Posted: Jul 10, 2017 5:38 PM
The Latest: GOP health care divisions multiply

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican health care bill (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

GOP divisions over health care are multiplying as the White House pressures Senate Republicans to act swiftly to pass Obamacare repeal legislation.

So far, there is scant evidence Republicans are any closer to agreement.

Vice President Mike Pence says Republicans might have to resort to a straightforward repeal of Obama's law, an approach with no chance of success in the House or Senate.

As Republicans descend into finger-pointing, Democrats sit back and watch.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas tells reporters that a revised bill will be unveiled this week, and "the goal continues to be to" vote next week.


4:55 p.m.

The No. 2 Republican in the Senate says senators will vote next week on a new health care bill to repeal and replace key parts of so-called Obamacare.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas tells reporters that the revised legislation will be unveiled this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is tweaking his bill after having had to abruptly cancel a vote last month because of lack of support.

It remains uncertain whether McConnell will be able to get the 50 GOP votes he needs given a slim margin for error in a Senate with 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats.

McConnell is trying to pass the bill with only Republican support and Vice President Mike Pence as the tie-breaker.


3:20 p.m.

Young people protesting Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have been arrested outside the offices of Republican senators.

About 10 protesters shouting slogans such as "health care is a human right" have been led away from the corridor outside the office of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.

Protesters also gathered outside the offices of Arkansas Sen. John Boozman and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner.

The Senate has returned to session after a weeklong recess. Republicans are struggling to reach consensus on a plan to repeal and replace the so-called Obamacare law. The measure is coming under renewed attack from within the GOP.


1:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is pressuring divided Senate Republicans to pass their stalled health care bill in the next few weeks.

But the measure is coming under renewed attack from within the GOP, with a moderate senator calling for a bipartisan approach.

At the same time, a conservative senator says Republicans are "at impasse" and that party leaders are trying to "buy off" lawmakers' votes.

Senators are returning to the Capitol after a weeklong July 4 recess that, if anything, saw GOP support erode for a bill fashioned by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The measure would erase much of President Barack Obama's health care law. It would scale back coverage requirements, end its penalty on people not buying coverage, cut Medicaid and eliminate tax boosts on wealthier people.


1 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says Senate Republicans remain at an impasse over a bill that would replace President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The Kentucky Republican said Monday that he spoke with President Donald Trump this past weekend. He says he and his one-time rival for the GOP presidential nomination share a "conservative vision" of revamping health care.

Paul told reporters in his home state that if Trump becomes more forceful on the issue, he has enough public popularity to persuade Senate Republicans to "do the right thing." The "right thing," he says, is for Republicans to fulfill their promise to repeal Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Paul criticized what he called efforts to "buy off" support from reluctant Republicans with extra federal spending for health care.


12:20 p.m.

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins says it's time for the GOP and Democrats to work together to fix the health care law.

In an interview Monday, the Maine lawmaker rejected a proposal from conservative Sen. Ted Cruz that would allow insurers to offer skimpier, stripped-down plans along with Obamacare policies. Collins said the plan would lead to unaffordable costs for individuals with pre-existing conditions and caps on coverage.

Collins said it's time to move away from a Republican-only approach. She said Republicans and Democrats need to acknowledge the flaws in Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act that need to be fixed and the two parties should work together.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to produce a Republican bill that would muster the necessary votes.

But McConnell also said that if he is unable to get 50 votes for the GOP plan, he would try to shore up insurance markets, a legislative step that would involve Democrats.


7:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump has a message for lawmakers returning this week from their July Fourth recess with another recess just three weeks away: Get health care done.

The president tweeted Monday, "I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new HealthCare bill fully approved and ready to go!"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to check vital signs on his GOP bill as senators trickle back to Washington from a July Fourth break that many spent listening to constituents vent about health care.

Thus far, there's no sign he's secured enough votes to pass a bill. He can only afford to lose two out of 52 Republican senators.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that at least 22 million more people would become uninsured under Republican legislation.


5 a.m.

Two moderate Republicans have indicated that the initial GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation's health law is probably "dead" and President Donald Trump's proposal to just repeal it appears to be a "non-starter."

Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana says, "We don't know what the plan is. Clearly, the draft plan is dead."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says it may now be time for Republicans to come up with a new proposal with support from Democrats.

He says, "I think my view is it's probably going to be dead."

McCain adds that this doesn't mean Democrats will control the bill if they have a say in it. He adds, "It means they can have amendments considered. And even when they lose, then they're part of the process."