McConnell on healthcare bills: What does
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[October 23, 2017]
By Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate
Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday he was willing to bring
healthcare legislation up for a vote but was waiting for the go-ahead
from President Donald Trump, who sent mixed signals last week about a
bipartisan bill that would shore up insurance markets.
The Republican president said on Oct. 12 that his administration would
stop paying billions of dollars in subsidies that help insurers give
discounts to low-income households under the Affordable Care Act, or
Obamacare. Last week, he praised and then dismissed a bipartisan bill to
reinstate the subsidies for two years, until a broader replacement to
Obamacare can be negotiated.
That legislation, introduced by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and
Democratic Senator Patty Murray, has drawn support from several
Asked if he would put it up for a vote this week, McConnell, the Senate
majority leader, punted to Trump.
"What I'm waiting for is to hear from President Trump what kind of
healthcare bill he might sign," McConnell said on CNN's "State of the
"If there's a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the
market, we need a bill the president will actually sign," he said. "I'm
not certain yet what the president is looking for here, but I'll be
happy to bring a bill to the floor if I know President Trump would sign
McConnell said he believed Trump had not made up his mind about
short-term legislation that would fall short of his promise for a full
repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell waits to speak to reporters
following a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S.
October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
Trump promised during his presidential campaign to get rid of
Obamacare, the signature healthcare law of his predecessor, Democrat
Barack Obama. However, his fellow Republicans, who control Congress,
have failed to do so because of deep party divisions.
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in
Congress, opposes the Alexander-Murray bill. With Trump waffling,
its chances appeared to dim.
Democrats, meanwhile, pushed McConnell to bring the bill to the
floor, saying the legislation would prevent insurance premiums from
"The president holds the key to preventing premiums from going up.
Now that Leader McConnell has made it clear he will put the
Murray-Alexander bill on the floor as soon as the president supports
it, the president should say that he does," Senate Democratic Leader
Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
Schumer told NBC's "Meet the Press" all 48 Democrats in the Senate
back the bill.
(Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Dan Grebler
and Lisa Von Ahn)
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