President Donald Trump on Tuesday indicated that since Republicans have failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they should instead let the law fail and force Democrats to come to the table.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, appears determined to vote on a measure that would repeal the ACA and replace it later—despite so far lacking enough GOP support to pass it.
Both leaders’ remarks came in the wake of the collapse of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which McConnell was unable to move forward after two more senators—making four total—said they wouldn’t support it.
The Senate’s top Republican then pivoted to push for a strategy of repealing the ACA and implementing a 2-year delay in which to come up with a replacement. In short order, GOP senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski all indicated they would oppose such a measure, leaving that plan without the necessary 50 votes to advance.
Following news of those defections, Trump said he was “very disappointed” that Republicans were unable to fulfill one of their core campaign promises despite pledging to repeal the ACA for 7 years.
However, he also didn’t assign blame to either himself or the GOP for the setback, saying “I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.”
Instead, repeating a position he’s advocated in the past, Trump suggested that Republicans should let the ACA fail on its own. “It’ll be a lot easier,” he added.
In his own remarks Tuesday afternoon, McConnell suggested that the Senate might still try to bring a repeal-and-delay measure to the floor.
“Sometime in the near future,” he said, “we’ll have a vote on repealing Obamacare—essentially the same vote that we had in 2015.”
Democrats, though, aren’t counting on Republicans to succeed, and instead are calling for their colleagues across the aisle to include them in healthcare reform efforts.
“It’s getting clearer and clearer that Senate Republicans won’t be able to pass either their bill or a backup plan of repeal without replacement,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “We Democrats believe that the time has finally come for our Republican colleagues to take us up on our offer of working together to improve the healthcare system rather than sabotage it.”