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Pence says GOP will replace Obamacare by end of 2018

Vice President Mike Pence pledged Thursday that Obamacare will be gone by the end of next year. 

Pence said at a Michigan manufacturing event that Republicans ‘ran out of time’ to repeal and replace the national health care law this year. It will happen, though, he said.

‘I’m going to make you a promise: Before this session of Congress ends in 2018, we will repeal and replace Obamacare. We’re going to get it done,’ he said.

Vice President Mike Pence pledged Thursday that Obamacare will be gone by the end of next year

Speaking at American Axle Manufacturing in Auburn Hills, Pence said it’s not a matter of ‘if, but when’ the existing health law will be repealed.

‘Michigan knows the truth. Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go,’ he said. ‘And President Trump and I will not rest, we will not relent, until we end the Obamacare nightmare.’  

Yesterday, Trump predicted Obamacare repeal will pass early next year.

After the collapse of the Graham-Cassidy health bill – which was facing a Friday deadline for special ‘reconciliation’ instructions that let it speed through the Senate and avoid a filibuster – Trump told reporters that legislation would pass in January or February. 

‘Because the reconciliation window is about to close, we have to wait a few months until it reopens before we take a vote,’ the president said.

Trump admitted: ‘And I was hoping this would be put on my desk right after we won the election and I’d come in and sign but it didn’t work that way. And a couple of people that – I won’t say anything,’ he said, failing to single out people who gave him bad advice. 

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR: President Donald Trump is predicting an Obamacare repeal will pass next January, February, or March. The president claimed the GOP has the votes now, it's just that a senator is in the hospital

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR: President Donald Trump is predicting an Obamacare repeal will pass next January, February, or March. The president claimed the GOP has the votes now, it’s just that a senator is in the hospital

Even under that scenario, the majority must assemble a majority to pass it – something that hasn’t yet happened. 

The president claimed the GOP has the votes now, it’s just that a senator is in the hospital. 

No senators have been hospitalized, although one, Thad Cochran, recently underwent a procedure. He’s resting at home but had plans to return to Washington if Graham-Cassidy came to the floor. 

‘Our understanding was that the senator was physically unable’ to be in the District ‘this week to actually participate in a vote,’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday said.

Sanders told reporters, ‘The point that we’re making is that we have the votes on the substance but not necessarially on the process, which is why we’re so confident that we can move healthcare forward [next year].’

Trump is also calling for doing away with the Senate filibuster, but his process comments appear to show an inclination to wait for next year’s budget resolution, and structuring it once again to allow the majority to try to jam through changes on a simple majority vote. 

‘But early next year, when reconciliation kicks back in, in any event long before the November election, we’re going to have a vote,’ Trump said. 

No senators have been hospitalized, although one, Thad Cochran, recently underwent a procedure. He's resting at home but had plans to return to Washington if Graham-Cassidy came to the floor 

No senators have been hospitalized, although one, Thad Cochran, recently underwent a procedure. He’s resting at home but had plans to return to Washington if Graham-Cassidy came to the floor 

'Our understanding was that the senator was physically unable' to be in the District 'this week to actually participate in a vote,' White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday said

‘Our understanding was that the senator was physically unable’ to be in the District ‘this week to actually participate in a vote,’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday said

Referring to the filibuster, he said: ‘The Democrats if they had the opportunity, which hopefully they won’t for many, many years, they would get rid of it on day one. And most of you know exactly what I am talking about.’

Trump didn’t bother explaining many details of the collapsed plan, which was polling worse than Obamacare in recent surveys. 

‘And with so many great features including all of the block granting, the money to the states, etcetera etcetera, our health care plan is really going to be something excellent,’ he said. 

And he continued to place part of the blame for the collapse on an ailing senator – only Wednesday afternoon he corrected his prior comments that he was in the hospital.

‘We have a wonderful senator, great great senator, who is a yes vote but he’s home recovering from a pretty tough situation,’ Trump said. 

Hours earlier, Trump repeatedly said that Republicans couldn’t bring up a vote to repeal Obamacare because a Republican ‘yes’ vote is ‘in the hospital’ – but the lawmaker he is referring to hasn’t been hospitalized all week.

‘We have the votes for health care. We have one senator who’s in the hospital. He can’t vote because he’s in the hospital,’ said Trump outside the White House Wednesday as he prepared to depart for Indiana.  

‘On healthcare, we have the votes. We can’t do it now because we have somebody in the hospital. We have great respect for that gentleman by the way. He is a fantastic man. He can’t come here and vote. He can’t come here and vote because he’s in the hospital,’ said Trump. 

‘One of our yes votes is in the hospital. I can’t take him out of the hospital,’ Trump insisted.

'We have the votes for health care. We have one senator who¿s in the hospital. He can¿t vote because he¿s in the hospital,' said Trump outside the White House Wednesday as he prepared to depart for Indiana 

‘We have the votes for health care. We have one senator who’s in the hospital. He can’t vote because he’s in the hospital,’ said Trump outside the White House Wednesday as he prepared to depart for Indiana 

The president brushed past a question when a reporter standing near him asked if he was referring to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran – who his staff has said is not in the hospital.  He never said who he was referring to.

Cochran tweeted Wednesday afternoon: ‘Thanks for the well-wishes. I’m not hospitalized, but am recuperating at home in Mississippi and look forward to returning to work soon.’ 

According to his office: ‘U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) was recently treated for a urological issue and is currently recuperating in Mississippi. The Senator expects to resume his regular work schedule soon.’ 

There are provisions in place to take him to the Capitol if needed for a vote. 

Trump predicted Republicans ‘will have the votes’ for an Obamacare repeal hours after GOP leaders pulled the doomed Graham-Cassidy effort. 

An aide told the Associated Press Cochran wasn’t in the hospital after Trump tweeted about it Wednesday morning, but he kept repeating the claim anyway.

What killed the latest effort was a group of GOP senators who said they weren’t for it. They included Arizona Sen. John McCain, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. 

Trump also referenced changes in process, new talks with Democrats, and new executive orders coming.

‘We will do the block grants, we will do the health care, we will get the longer process for the couple people that did want to see more process even though they’re a yes vote,’ Trump said, in a possible reference to Republicans who complained about the lack of hearings or ‘regular order.’

According to his office: 'U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) was recently treated for a urological issue and is currently recuperating in Mississippi. The Senator expects to resume his regular work schedule soon

According to his office: ‘U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) was recently treated for a urological issue and is currently recuperating in Mississippi. The Senator expects to resume his regular work schedule soon

HE COULD HAVE JUST SENT FLOWERS: Sen. Thad Cochran plans to resume work 'soon,' and is being treated for a urological issue ¿ but is not in the hospital, his staff says. Trump said the vote couldn't come up because a senator was in the hospital

HE COULD HAVE JUST SENT FLOWERS: Sen. Thad Cochran plans to resume work ‘soon,’ and is being treated for a urological issue – but is not in the hospital, his staff says. Trump said the vote couldn’t come up because a senator was in the hospital

Trump said he was ‘considering’ an executive order on healthcare ‘associations,’ without further explanation.  

‘That will take care of a tremendous number of people with regard to health care,’ he said.

‘I’ll probably be signing a very major Executive Order where people can go out across state lines through lots of things and buy their own health care,’ he added. That could ‘probably’ come as soon as next week.

‘It’s going to cover a lot of territory,’ Trump said.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who opposed Graham-Cassidy, has promoted legislation to allow individuals form associations and purchase insurance across state lines.  

Trump also suggested that Republicans would try to find another way to bring a bill up next year under protections that would block a filibuster.

President Donald Trump predicted Republicans 'will have the votes' for an Obamacare repeal hours after party leaders decided not to bring up the Graham-Cassidy bill

President Donald Trump predicted Republicans ‘will have the votes’ for an Obamacare repeal hours after party leaders decided not to bring up the Graham-Cassidy bill

‘Because of reconciliation we have to wait for January or February or March, which we’ll do, but in the meantime I will negotiate with Democrats to see if we can make a bipartisan bill,’ he said.   

Wednesday morning, the president once again raised his complaints with the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes to pass controversial legislation – although the GOP was unable to muster a simple majority to pass Graham-Cassidy after the defections from their own party. 

‘We will have the votes for Healthcare but not for the reconciliation deadline of Friday, after which we need 60. Get rid of Filibuster Rule!’ Trump wrote.

Friday was the last day when the party could move legislation under procedures carved out by expiring special ‘reconciliation’ rules. 

President Trump said the GOP had 'one Yes vote in the hospital'

President Trump said the GOP had ‘one Yes vote in the hospital’

He said 'we will have the votes' but not in time for a Friday deadline that would have allowed repeal to pass on a simple majority

He said ‘we will have the votes’ but not in time for a Friday deadline that would have allowed repeal to pass on a simple majority

Trump also made another optimistic prediction about the vote count, without revealing his evidence.  He said there were ‘positive signs’ from Alaska, a reference to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who wavered on the bill, even as changes got made to shore up rural states like Alaska that were set to lose millions through Medicaid changes.

‘With one Yes vote in hospital & very positive signs from Alaska and two others (McCain is out), we have the HCare Vote, but not for Friday!’ he wrote.  

The Senate won’t even vote on Republicans’ latest effort to repeal Obamacare, GOP leadership announced Tuesday. 

The Graham-Cassidy bill was already at death’s door Monday night following the decision of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to not support the measure after seeing a preliminary Congressional Budget Office score, which suggested ‘millions’ of Americans would lose their health insurance. 

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (pictured), and Bill Cassidy, R-La, authored the Republicans' most recent attempt to kill Obamacare, but with three definite no votes, the legislation looks like it will fall short if it does go to a vote in the US Senate

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La. (pictured), authored the Republicans' most recent attempt to kill Obamacare, but with three definite no votes, the legislation looks like it will fall short if it does go to a vote in the US Senate

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (left), and Bill Cassidy, R-La. (right), authored the Republicans’ most recent attempt to kill Obamacare, but with three definite no votes, the legislation was left for dead

But on Tuesday, to avoid a second health care-related embarrassment on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., decided during a lunch with GOP lawmakers to put the final nail in the coffin – at least for now.

‘We don’t have the votes,’ Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., the bill’s co-author, told a horde of reporters on Capitol Hill after the weekly luncheon. ‘We’ve made the decision since we don’t have the votes, we will postpone that vote.’  

McConnell came out and said the caucus would be turning to tax reform.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the other co-author, promised Republicans would turn their attention back to health care once that’s through. 

‘To the leader, thank you, it’s complicated, it’s difficult politics, instead of quitting you allowed us to move forward and, oh my God, how far we’ve come in such a short period of time,’ Graham said. 

Graham and Cassidy publicly announced their plan for the bill, to block grant Obamacare funds to the states, in July after the Republicans’ ‘skinny’ Obamacare repeal effort didn’t work out. 

The duo had been working to get support for it since, knowing they had to contend with a September 30 deadline in order to use the Senate’s reconciliation rules, which would allow them to pass it with only 51 votes.  

‘There are 50 votes for the substance, there are not 50 votes for the process,’ Graham told reporters today, as lawmakers including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who announced his intention not to vote for the bill on Friday, protested that the bill was being rushed.

After McConnell’s decision was announced today, McCain tweeted, ‘Now let’s return to regular order – hearings, open debate and amendments.’  

Pulling the bill riled up President Trump, who had already pooh-poohed the Senate Republicans’ effort earlier Tuesday.

‘We were very disappointed by a couple of senators, Republican senators, I must say,’ President Trump told reporters from the White House, dubbing them ‘so-called’ Republicans as well.  

‘We were very disappointed that they would take the attitude that they did,’ Trump added. 

The president was referring to Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., McCain and Collins, who were the three on-the-record no votes, though several senators suggested there may be more.  

At his own presser across town, Paul Ryan also seemed dismayed. 

‘Well, obviously in the House, we’re a little frustrated because the House has done its job, we passed our health care bill last May,’ he said. ‘So yes we’re a little frustrated that the Senate has not acted on a seminal promise health care, which, by the way, Obamacare is collapsing.’ 

House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives with only one vote to spare. 

No Democrats voted in favor of their bill and 20 of their own members voted nay. 

In the Senate, where Republicans have an even slimmer majority, the road to passage would have been even more narrow, with the GOP only able to afford two defections in what would have been a party-line vote.

Paul was the first senator to indicate he wasn’t interested in voting for the bill, saying it didn’t do enough to repeal Obamacare. 

Then came McCain on Friday and Collins Monday night.   

A number of senators had also expressed that they were on the fence including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas – who also outed Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, as a maybe – and Murkowski.

Before McConnell’s decision was announced, Trump said, ‘There will be a repeal and a replace.’ 

From the podium Tuesday, Graham also said he wasn’t ready to let it go.   

‘It’s not if, it’s only a matter of when,’ the South Carolina senator said to the bemusement of reporters who knew Republicans didn’t have the votes. 

‘We’re coming back to this after taxes,’ Graham also vowed. ‘We’re going to take this show on the road,’ he said.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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