Trump’s still trying to get the GOP health care bill passed

President Trump hasn’t given up on the GOP’s latest attempt to repeal ObamaCare — even as Republican officials despaired that a deal is unlikely.

Trump launched a public persuasion effort Saturday to talk two reluctant GOP senators into getting on board with the Graham-Cassidy bill after John McCain (R-Ariz.) dealt the proposal a potential death blow on Friday by declaring his opposition.

The president aimed a pair of sweet-talking tweets at Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom got shout-outs earlier in Trump’s Friday stump speech for Alabama Sen. Luther Strange in Huntsville.

“I know Rand Paul and I think he may find a way to get there for the good of the Party!” Trump tweeted optimistically.

Paul, who pushed a previous Senate repeal proposal that did less to undo ObamaCare’s regulations than the new bill, said Friday that he “won’t be bribed or bullied” into supporting the Graham-Cassidy bill after Trump labeled him “the Republican who saved ObamaCare.”

Murkowski, who remains undecided, was also bestowed with a hopeful Trump tweet.

“Alaska had a 200% plus increase in premiums under ObamaCare, worst in the country,” the president posted. “Deductibles high, people angry! Lisa M comes through.”

But gloomy GOP insiders at the party’s leadership conference at Mackinac Island, Mich., held out little hope that Trump’s persuasion will succeed.

One congressional insider spoke of fears that a “snowball effect” would follow McCain’s announced “no” vote on Friday, giving on-the-fence senators like Murkowski, Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Rob Portman of Ohio the political cover they need to also reject the bill.

Republicans have until Sept. 30 to push an ObamaCare repeal through the Senate under reconciliation rules, which would let the bill pass along party lines with just 50 senators in favor and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Afterwards, any ObamaCare repeal will need 60 votes — and the support of Democrats.

With just 52 GOP senators, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can afford to lose only two votes on the bill that he plans to bring to the floor this week.


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