House Republicans expressed their frustrations with the Senate’s failure to pass the motion to proceed on the upper chamber’s watered-down Obamacare repeal bill Friday, but asserted that the party’s work on reforming the health care system is far from over.
The collapse of the “skinny repeal” — a scaled-back repeal measure aimed at abolishing parts of the Affordable Care Act the majority of Republican lawmakers agreed upon while leaving a number of Obamacare regulations in place — came as a devastating blow to Senate GOP leadership, who were looking to use the legislation as a vehicle to conference with the House.
Following the House GOP’s conference meeting Friday morning, lawmakers called the Senate’s failure “extremely disappointing,” noting that they managed to pass their bill in May after overcoming an impasse between moderates and conservatives.
While the Senate’s fumble makes getting health care reform done this year more difficult, Republicans in the lower chamber haven’t given up hope on fulfilling their top campaign promise.
“We’re going to have to take a different route based upon what the Senate does, unless the Senate is able to wake up and realize what they did and come back to their senses,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters, adding he believes the Senate still has the ability to pass a bill.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California had similar sentiments, saying the Senate has the option to renew negotiations and move forward as they did in the House.
“I mean it’s not 100 percent shut off over there,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They could they could wake up — maybe they will up this morning or tomorrow and say, ‘You know, we made a mistake,’ so we can always hope for that and then it will go to conference as the speaker promised.”
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said he’s hopeful the Senate will bring the bill back up in the near future, noting that both Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rob Portman of Ohio and Sens. Susan Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana have been working on amendments that could garner bipartisan support.
“I think we continue to work on two different plans with our Senate colleagues — hopefully just like we would have gone to conference the work wouldn’t have been done. I think we continue to do that over the next couple of weeks to come up with a plan that actually gets to 51,” he said.
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