Donald Trump has signalled that he is willing to work with four Republican senators who have said they’re “not ready to vote” for the Senate’s Obamacare repeal and replacement bill.
Hours after the measure was unveiled to Congress, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah said in a joint statement that they were not ready to vote in favour of the legislation.
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” the senators said.
Republican leadership is aiming to have a vote on the bill next week before senators leave Washington, DC for the Fourth of July recess.
Mr Trump acknowledged in an interview with Fox News that a lack of support from the four Republicans leaves the party’s overhaul of former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare policy on a “very, very narrow path” to victory.
“It’s not that they’re opposed. They’d like to get certain changes. And we’ll see if we can take care of that,” Mr Trump said, calling the group of conservative senators “four very good people”.
But despite the President’s apparent willingness to negotiate, another Republican – Dean Heller of Nevada – has also come out against the healthcare measure, saying “it’s simply not the answer” and that there isn’t anything in the bill that would lower premiums.
“I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans,” he said
Mr Heller, like four other GOP senators, left the door open to negotiations. But he said “it’s going to be very difficult to get me to a ‘yes’” on the bill.
Mr Trump’s role is expected to become more pronounced in coming days as the vote nears. Senate Republican leaders may rely on the deal-making former businessman to lean on conservative senators who are balking at the bill.
“We’re pleasantly surprised with a lot…