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Trump invites Republican senators to lunch with Obamacare repeal on menu

Trump invites Republican senators to lunch with Obamacare repeal on menu

Trump's remarks were a surprising slap at a Republican-written House measure that was shepherded by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and whose passage the president lobbied for and praised.

"There are third rails that they can touch in the bill", David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, said.

Trump's comments, during a White House lunch with a group of 15 GOP senators from across the ideological spectrum, signaled that he may be willing to embrace a less-aggressive revision of the Affordable Care Act than Republicans have previously promised. They spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal a closed-door conversation. John Thune, R-SD, who attended the meeting at the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday would not say when he expected the health-care bill to be released or a vote to be held.

The president's private comments seem to fly in the face of his public ones, in which he has called the House bill, "incredibly well crafted", among other things. The CBO, a non-partisan analysis agency, released its evaluation of the House health care effort a few weeks after the bill was passed.

Senate Republicans are now amending the House-passed American Health Care Act in secret, making changes to the law without any plans to hold public hearings nor solicit input from their Democratic counterparts before bringing it to a vote. Johnson nearly certainly must be one of the 50 votes required to pass a GOP health care bill in the Senate. Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, Politico Playbook reports.

Trump had not publicly criticized the House bill previously. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham acknowledged that "this is not the best way to do health care", but said "it't the way we're having to do it".

Trump indicated further resources may be needed to reform Obamacare, telling the senators, "That may be adding additional money into it", according to Reuters.

Trump's lunch included a number of more moderate Republicans, including Sens.

"We aren't stupid", said one of the aides.

"Well I think we're not anxious so much about that as we are getting it together so we can get a majority to vote for it", Hatch said. Those tax credits already attracted the ire of some Senate Republicans, who dismissed them as little more than "Obamacare lite".

Trump will also meet with "Obamacare victims" on Tuesday when he travels to Wisconsin.

After meeting with two such couples after landing in Milwaukee, Trump pointed to "millions of American families" he said "continue to suffer from Obamacare while Congressional Democrats obstruct our efforts to rescue them".

But some Republicans are concerned about their tight timeframe in repealing Obamacare, including Senators Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Richard Burr (N.C.), who have questioned whether health care will pass by the end of the year.


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