‘The truth is, we’re not even close’: GOP senators admit health care bill needs a ‘major overhaul’
The decision by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to postpone an expected health care vote on Thursday stunned GOP senators who attended a meeting with him on Tuesday, reports Politico.
According to the report, as late as Monday night, they expected a vote this week before McConnell told them that the vote would be delayed after he convened the meeting, bumping it out until after the July 4 recess.
“It’s different from what he said … yesterday afternoon as late as 5:30 p.m.,” said a Republican senator.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) — McConnell’s closest ally — said that he was a “little bit” surprised at the announcement, having only moments before that the vote was on schedule.
“I understand it and support it. It’s important that we succeed,” Cornyn said as he rationalized McConnell’s decision. “This is more than just about health care, as important as that is. This is about keeping our promises and demonstrating our ability to govern.”
At issue are far right conservative senators who don’t think the bill cuts services enough and senators from more moderate states who fear the drastic cuts in the bill will harm them at home with the voters.
With Trump failing to convince senators to move forward at a meeting on Tuesday — with one senator saying Trump “did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan” — participants at the meeting stated that there is a lot of work to be done and some questioned if it was possible there would be a sea change during the break.
One associate of McConnell’s questioned whether Trump could have any impact at all, saying, “Trump doesn’t bring us any votes. He just doesn’t,”
“Tinkering isn’t going to work, from my perspective. There would have to be a major overhaul of the bill … to win my support,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) explained.
“There’s several things we’ve put on the table. And at this point there’s not much give,” added Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) “I don’t know how, or if, we can get there.”
Another Senate aide summed it.
“The truth is, we’re not even close. This is not, like, a couple of tweaks,” the anonymous aide said.