President Donald Trump on Monday applied pressure on Senate Republicans to support a procedural vote on an Obamacare repeal bill — even though Senate leadership hasn’t yet specified which bill senators will be asked to advance on Tuesday.
After a hiccup 22 words into remarks from the White House — Trump said Americans had been living with Obamacare as law “for the past 17 years,” not seven — the President discussed the stories of families gathered behind him at the White House and blamed Democrats for passing Obamacare despite “lies” about what it could achieve.
Most of his remarks, though, seemed designed to pressure Republican senators on the fence about the Obamacare repeal effort — which began with Senate leadership drafting a bill that included deep longterm cuts to Medicaid in secret.
There are now multiple potential bills that could be considered for a vote, including a simple “repeal” bill, which would leave two years for legislators to write a replacement (if any) for Obamacare, a version of Senate Republicans’ repeal bill that includes Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) amendment to allow the sale of unregulated insurance plans, and others.
“For the last seven years Republicans have been united in standing up for Obamacare’s victims,” Trump said. “Remember: repeal and replace, repeal and replace? They kept saying it over and over again. Every Republican running for office promised immediate relief from this disastrous law. We as a party must fulfill that solemn promise to the voters of this country to repeal and replace, what they’ve been saying for the last seven years.”
“But so far Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare,” he continued. “They now have a chance, however, to hopefully, hopefully fix what has been so badly broken for such a long time.”
Trump described in general terms a repeal bill that would provide “tax credits so Americans can purchase a private plan that is right for them and their families,” funding to combat the nationwide opioid crisis and “flexibility for states to administer Medicaid to better serve their poorer citizens.”
Trump then added: “Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on whether to allow this urgently needed bill to come to the Senate floor for debate. The question for every senator, Democrat or Republican, is whether they will side with Obamacare’s architects, which have been so destructive to our country, or with its forgotten victims. Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, which is what it is.”
Senate Republicans, he said, now had a chance “to keep their promise.”
“Over and over again, they said repeal and replace, repeal and replace,” he continued. “But they can now keep their promise to the American people to provide emergency relief to those in desperate need of help, and to improve health care for all Americans.”