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White House Courts GOP Senators On Obamacare Repeal

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) gives a thumbs up sign as he walks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

GOP senators met with President Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday in the wake of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing the upper chamber would not vote on the motion to proceed on the Senate GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill this week.

Leadership was hopeful they would pass the legislation before their July 4 recess but were forced to rework their schedule due to hesitations from a number of lawmakers.

Despite Republicans’ plan to use the reconciliation process — which only requires a simple majority to pass the Senate — leadership came up short on the support needed. Members expressed concerns about the rushed process and voiced doubts it didn’t do enough to bring down premiums.

Trump told the lawmakers they “have really no choice but to solve the situation” and “Obamacare is melting down. Rates are going up,” according to the pool report.

The president, who was reportedly sitting next to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, noted her state saw a 206 percent increase in rates since the Affordable Care Act’s implementation.

Trump said he is optimistic the conference will strike a deal on something they can all support.

“So, we’re going to talk and we’re going to see what we can do,” he said. “We’re getting very close. But for the country, we have to have health care. And it can’t be Obamacare, which is melting down.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who met with Trump earlier in the day, said he was encouraged by the president’s willingness to negotiate on the measure and hoped leadership would do the same.

If McConnell manages to get the bill through the Senate, it will be sent back to the House where it will likely face another set of challenges.

The House passed their version of the bill last month after months of negotiations and one botched attempt. The Trump administration played a major role in helping members of the conference come together on their bill.

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