Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn expects to have enough of his fellow Republicans’ support to push through a health care vote this week and then pass legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare, he told ABC News today.
Asked whether he will move forward with or without the necessary votes, he said he doesn’t expect that to be an issue.
“Well, I expect to have the support to get it done,” Cornyn, the senior senator from Texas, told ABC News congressional correspondent Mary Bruce. “And yes, we will vote this week.”
The vote in question is a procedural one to allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bill to the floor and open it up for discussion before a final vote on passage.
“We’re still talking to a few who have concerns,” Cornyn said. “My optimism comes from the fact that most of them are saying that we want to get to yes and we just have some concerns. Obviously, the discussion draft that was released was just that. And it’s produced some discussions. A lot of the news among senators — we are continuing to work on it. And I remain optimistic.
“I’m not willing to accept that we are not going to be successful, because I think the consequences are very bad.”
Despite Cornyn’s confidence, at least five Republican senators say they will oppose the procedural vote on the GOP health care plan — which would effectively block the bill from reaching the floor.
Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have signaled they will vote no or plan to vote no if there are no changes made to the legislation before the vote, expected today or Wednesday.
In order to pass the health care bill through the Senate, Republicans need to hold on to 50 of their 52 votes. They can afford only two defections; in case of a tie, they have the option of calling in Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote. But because the latest count has at least five…