Senate Republicans point out the White House has the final say on whether a bipartisan ObamaCare deal can proceed. President Donald Trump has both praised and criticized the negotiations, sending mixed signals as to where he stands on the bipartisan deal which Senator Lamar Alexander reached with Democrats. Trump’s support is crucial for the bill to pass.
A list of required changes to the healthcare bill has been sent by the White House, even though some GOP members believe the White House has to negotiate directly with Democrats, without a middleman.
“Next step is really for the White House to sit down with Democrats, and discuss their asks and negotiate. This is the legislative process. If they have suggestions, then now they need to negotiate,” a Senate Republican aide said.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, also stated that it is the White House that has to make the decision regarding the bill negotiated with Senator Patty Murray.
“If there’s a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the market, we need a bill the president will actually sign.” He added that despite his uncertainty regarding the president signing the bill, he would be glad to bring it to the floor should Trump sign it.
Democrats, on the other hand, are not willing to talk further, saying a fair deal has already been negotiated. They point out that the next step is for McConnell to bring the bill to the Senate floor.
“It’s in bad faith for the White House to come back with additional asks after being closely involved in the negotiations,” a Senate Democratic aide said.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer also believes the deal is a “good compromise” and needs to be brought up for a vote as it already has the necessary support from both Republicans and Democrats. However, he did not completely rule out more talks as long as any proposed changes are constructive.