Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to bring a last-ditch bill to repeal and replace big parts of Obamacare to a vote in the Senate next week, a spokesman for the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday.
“It is the leader’s intention to consider Graham-Cassidy on the floor next week,” McConnell’s spokesman said.
But it remained unclear Wednesday whether McConnell has lined up enough Republicans in the Senate to pass the bill.
The statement came shortly after McConnell met with the bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and after Graham met separately with Alaska’s two senators, whose support would be crucial for the bill to pass.
The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., sets up a block grant system to allot money to states. Many of them are expected to see less federal funding under the plan than they currently get.
The deadline for passage is Sept. 30, when authorization for a fast-track procedural tool known as reconciliation expires.
Republicans need 50 senators to vote for the bill to win passage, assuming a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. While the GOP has a majority of 52 seats in the Senate, party leaders have not been able to get more than 49 Republicans to vote for Obamacare repeal bills this year.
In July, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was one of three GOP senators to oppose a final version of a repeal bill, ensuring its defeat.
Murkowski has not said how she would vote on Graham-Cassidy. Neither has Dan Sullivan, a Republican who is the state’s other senator.
The focus is also on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., whose vote against the last GOP attempt to overhaul the health-care system killed the measure. McCain has not given a clear sense of where he stands this time.
Every Democrat and independent in the Senate is opposed to Obamacare repeal.