Three Republican senators have come out against Mitch McConnell’s plan to repeal Obamacare, putting the brakes on second-ditch efforts to roll back the Obama administration’s signature health care legislation.
The revelation comes less than a day after four senators voiced opposition to the Senate majority leader’s Plan A on health care, which would have both repealed the Affordable Care Act and replaced it with a bill crafted by Republicans.
After Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Susan Collins, R-Maine and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, each said they would not support a motion to proceed on the efforts to repeal without a ready-made replacement, President Donald Trump said he would not take responsibility for the future of the current health care law — a future he predicted would feature the law’s failure, which he said Republicans should allow to happen.
“Let Obamacare fail,” said Trump at the White House. “It’ll be a lot easier and I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.”
Following Monday night’s collapse of the replacement plan originally touted by McConnell, Trump pointed the finger at Democrats and a “few Republicans” while offering mixed signals about how the party should proceed.
“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate,” the president tweeted Monday night, echoing McConnell’s pivot to the repeal-only strategy. He followed up Tuesday morning, though, to express his desire that the law should be allowed to fail on its own.
As part of Trump’s Tuesday morning tweets, he appeared to take aim at the group of four senators who stood in opposition to the party’s health care replacement bill: Collins and Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
“We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans,” Trump tweeted. “Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard.”
“We will return!” he added.
The inner-party tension continued as the president looked ahead to the 2018 midterm elections and the prospect of adding additional lawmakers to aid in the party’s endeavors.
“The way I look at it is, in ’18, we’re going to have to get some more people elected,” he said. “We have to go out and we have to get more people elected that are Republican. And we have to probably pull in those people, those few people that voted against it. I don’t know.”
None of the senators whose stances led to the collapse of the party’s efforts Monday and Tuesday are up for re-election in 2018.
Vice President Mike Pence joined Trump in criticizing Congress Tuesday for failing to advance one of the administration’s major legislative goals, seeming to portray allowing the current law to remain in place as untenable.
“Inaction is not an option,” Pence said in remarks to the National Retail Federation before the repeal-only plan too appeared to fail. “Congress needs to step up. Congress needs to do their job and Congress needs to do their job now.”
Across the aisle, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor, “Make no mistake about it, passing repeal without a replacement would be a disaster. Our health care system would implode.”
Schumer added that “the door to bipartisanship is open right now,” though “not with repeal,” a notion Trump seemed open to during his White House remarks, though under different terms.
“We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they’re going to say, ‘How do we fix it?'” said Trump.
ABC News’ Alexander Mallin contributed to this report.