President Donald Trump, who has previously said that he would prefer Obamacare be repealed and replaced at the same time, reversed course Friday morning, suggesting instead that the process of undoing the health care law could be broken up.
“If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
Trump’s suggestion somewhat mirrors one raised Thursday by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the conservative lawmakers who opposes the current Senate GOP repeal-and-replace bill because it does not go far enough in undoing former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. While Paul and others oppose the legislation on conservative grounds, another handful of more moderate GOP senators has voiced opposition because the bill’s cuts are too severe.
The solution, suggested by Paul and seemingly backed by Trump on Friday, would be to split the bill into a “clean repeal” that the entire GOP caucus could support and a second health care spending bill that moderate Republicans could hash out with willing Democrats.
With a thin, 52-seat majority in the Senate, Republicans can afford to lose the support of just two GOP senators and still pass the bill. Already, a procedural vote on the measure this week was postponed because the measure had not gained sufficient traction among Senate Republicans.
“Well, see, the typical way in Washington that they fix things is they give everybody money, and I think that’s what’s going to happen now,” Paul said of the negotiation process. “Half of them want more money, and half of them want less money. That’s why it doesn’t work to have one bill, because every time you stuff more money in it for the moderates, it offends the conservatives.”