Five GOP senators now oppose health bill _ enough to sink it

Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, Erik Verduzco

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., during a press conference where he announced he will vote no on the proposed GOP healthcare bill at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building on Friday, June 23, 2017 in Las Vegas.

WASHINGTON — Nevada Republican Dean Heller became the fifth GOP senator to declare his opposition to the party’s banner legislation to scuttle much of Barack Obama’s health care overhaul on Friday, more than enough to sink the measure and deliver a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump unless some of them can be brought aboard.

Echoing the other four, Heller said he opposes the measure “in this form” but does not rule out backing a version that is changed to his liking. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he’s willing to alter the measure to attract support, and next week promises plenty of back-room bargaining as he tries pushing a final package through his chamber.

Nonetheless, Heller’s announcement underscores the scant margin of error Republican leaders must deal with. Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, McConnell can afford to lose just two of the 52 GOP senators and still prevail.

Besides the five who’ve announced outright opposition, several other GOP senators — conservatives and moderates — have declined to commit to the new overhaul. The measure resembles legislation the House…

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