GOP senators said Wednesday they remained divided over pivotal questions about dismantling and replacing chunks of former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. During a ceremony at the Rose Garden, Trump praised the bill as "an incredible healthcare plan" and "something very, very incredibly well-crafted", according to the White House.
Senator John Thune, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, who attended the lunch meeting, said Trump was open to suggestions that some federal cost-sharing payments to health insurers under Obamacare continue in the near term but that the president did not make any definite pronouncements on that issue.
Trump told the lawmakers that the House bill didn't go far enough in protecting individuals in the marketplace - and appeared to use that as his rationale for why he has ambiguously called twice for the Senate to "add more money" to the bill. Can you tell us how the Senate bill will impact both the youngest and oldest Americans?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly wants to have a vote on the bill before the week-long July 4 recess. The white men in suits cheered while Trump spoke as if they had just written the Magna Carta.
[Trump] made clear that the Senate needs to pass a bill that Republicans are able to more easily defend and is not viewed as an attack on Americans from low-income households, as the House bill has been portrayed by critics, the sources said....
"To call a bill that he pushed "mean" leaves us scratching our heads", Brat said.
Their descriptions of Trump's words differed slightly.
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Another congressional source said Trump used a vulgar phrase to describe the bill and urged the senators to make it "more generous".
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One Tuesday evening, "We don't comment on rumors or private conversations". Vice President Mike Pence, who has worked with Senate Republicans for weeks on health care, also joined the lunch. If Republicans scrape up the necessary votes, the Senate will pass a bill that could gut Medicaid, which in turn could ding California taxpayers.
The measure's final version reflected a compromise by conservative leader Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and centrist Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J.
Other problems include funding for tax credits to allow people to gain access to insurance coverage and maintaining Obamacare's essential health benefits, which mandate a minimum of health procedures that insurance plans must cover.
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said he agreed with Trump's comments on healthcare during an interview on MSNBC. "You couldn't have a more partisan process than what you're engaged in right now".
When asked to comment on Trump's remarks during the meeting, AshLee Strong, Ryan's spokeswoman said, "Congressional Republicans, with President Trump's support, are working to repeal and replace this awful Obamacare law that is harming Americans", according to the Associated Press.
MacArthur's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's description of the bill MacArthur helped resuscitate.