Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, on Tuesday acknowledged that the Trump administration did not do the best job of winning over conservative allies’ support for a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare early on in the process.
“One of the things that we could learn from the last battle was that in many cases, we did not get all of our allies on board with the path forward,” Short said at a breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “And so therefore the Republican base was splintered, and some of the reform packages were tagged early on as ‘Obamacare lite.'”
Short added that the White House did not have its full team in place before talks on Obamacare repeal began, which he argued prevented the White House from bringing allies on board.
“I will say that that process began that first couple days in January. We were inaugurated at the end of the month and didn’t have our team really on the field,” he said. “So we do believe that was a process that we had a lot of our conservative allies already out attacking the House package before we were even in office.”
Short also indicated the White House would like to see Republicans take another stab at repealing Obamacare before the end of September. He brought up a bill drafted by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), which would keep some of the taxes imposed by Obamacare and send those funds to the states in the form of block grants.
The aide did not say that the White House backs the bill, however.
“That is a vehicle that will hopefully get more attention in the coming days,” Short said when asked if Trump backs the Graham-Cassidy plan.