On Friday, Senate Republicans failed to collect enough votes to repeal even a few parts of Obamacare. That capped a week of failed Senate votes on whether to simply repeal, or repeal and replace, the 2010 law, while Trump repeatedly berated lawmakers in a late attempt to influence the legislation.
“The president will not accept those who said, quote, ‘its time to move on,”‘ Kellyanne Conway, a senior counselor to Trump, said on Fox News Sunday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, had made exactly that comment before dawn on Friday morning after the failed health-care vote.
The White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said on Sunday lawmakers should stay in session to get something done on health-care — even if this means postponing votes on other issues such as raising the debt ceiling.
“So yes. They need to stay. They need to work. They need to pass something,” Mulvaney said on CNN.
The House of Representatives has already gone home for its August break and the Senate is expected to do the same by mid-August.
Mulvaney also said Trump was seriously considering carrying out threats he tweeted about on Saturday, when the president said that “if a new Health Care Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
That tweet appeared to be referring to the approximately $8 billion in cost-sharing reduction subsidies the federal government pays to insurers to lower the price of health coverage for low-income Americans.
The Saturday tweet also appeared to be a threat to end the employer contribution for members of Congress and their staffs, who were moved from the normal federal employee health-care benefits program onto the Obamacare insurance exchanges as part of the 2010 healthcare law.
“What he’s saying is, look, if Obamacare is hurting the American people and it is then why shouldn’t it hurt insurance companies and more importantly, perhaps for this discussion, members of Congress?” Mulvaney said on Sunday on CNN.
Some Republicans have said they are trying to find a way forward on health care. Senate Republican Susan Collins, one of three Republicans who voted against repealing parts of Obamacare on Friday, told NBC that Congress should produce a series of bills with bipartisan input on health care, including appropriating the cost-sharing subsidies.
The Senate has one vote scheduled when it reconvenes on Monday afternoon: whether to confirm a U.S. circuit court judge. Senate aides said they had no guidance for the agenda beyond that vote.