House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) washed his hands of concerns that the direction he’s taking Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill in the House will make it dead-on-arrival in the Senate.
“My job is to move bills through the House,” Ryan said at his weekly press conference Thursday, while noting the feedback from House members leadership is receiving through the process.
The legislation, the American Health Care Act, has come under fire from a range of Senators that have included Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC). According to a report in the Hill, some GOP senators are privately hopeful that the bill will die in the House so they don’t get blamed if it fails in the upper chamber.
“I have not yet heard from those senators. The senators who have been critical of the House bill, none of them have called me. So I am not sure what exactly their concerns are,” Ryan said. “All I would say is, senators are not helpless with respect to the House. The House passes its bill. It’s sent to the Senate and then they get to take it from there. Senators, if they have a concern or an issue, are free to amend that bill when it goes over there.”
Ryan’s ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ lesson aside, the obstacles the bill faces in the Senate are worrying members of his own caucus, particularly Republican moderates who have balked at the changes that House conservatives are pushing.
“There’s a real concern that the bill is going nowhere in the Senate, that would not be wise for us to take it up,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), the chair of the centrist Tuesday Group, told reporters Wednesday.