Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during a press conference after a closed-door Senate GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill, June 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.
At a White House meeting with GOP senators later Tuesday, Trump shrugged off the delay and said “we’re getting very close” to striking a deal despite the disagreements.
GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a swing vote, said Monday night she would vote “no” on the motion to proceed, tweeting that the Senate bill does not “fix the flaws” of Obamacare. She joined Sen. Dean Heller, a vulnerable Nevada Republican who previously said he would vote against advancing the bill as written due to its rollback of Medicaid expansion.
On the conservative side, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also said they would not back a motion to proceed this week for the bill as written. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also said he would oppose the procedural move barring tweaks to the bill, according to The Associated Press.
Those senators and Ted Cruz of Texas were the first to publicly announce opposition to the current bill. They argue that the plan does not go far enough to repeal Obamacare.
After meeting with Trump at the White House earlier Tuesday, Paul said in a tweet that the president is “open to making the bill better.” He questioned whether “Senate leadership” was open to making what he calls improvements.
After the vote was delayed, three Republican senators — Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — announced opposition to the current bill. Portman and Capito were considered swing votes because their states have expanded Medicaid and are hotbeds in the U.S. opioid crisis.
The GOP could still win skeptical senators over with amendments. House Republicans did the same to gather more votes before the chamber narrowly passed its own Obamacare replacement last month.
The House GOP had to abruptly pull one form of its health-care bill from the floor in March when it became apparent that it would not get enough votes. But the chamber eventually passed the plan with tweaks.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that he has “every expectation” the Senate will pass a health-care bill, adding, “I would not bet against Mitch McConnell.”