Vice President Mike Pence participated in a round table discussion in Cleveland, Ohio, Wednesday, one day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a vote on the Republican-proposed health care bill until after the July 4 recess.
Pence’s trip comes on the heels of a few notable Republican refusing to support the bill because they want the costs of premiums to come down more, the tax credits and stabilization funds as new entitlements readdressed more efficiently, and several other modifications.
According to the White House, Pence heard from local business leaders and their employees at Tendon Manufacturing Inc., an American-owned and operated metal fabrication company. He held a listening session with small-business owners about health care before touring the factory.
Republicans have promised supporters they would repeal and replace Obamacare, and Pence is speaking with voters and wary Republicans in Congress to help garner support for the legislation.
Before heading to Ohio, Pence hosted Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Mike Lee of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and James Lankford of Oklahoma on Tuesday night in Washington to make another push towards gaining their support for the health care bill.
The opposition to the bill from a handful of Republican senators is an ominous sign for its passage given Republicans cannot afford to lose more than two votes in order for the legislation to succeed.
Voicing other concerns, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the bill in its current form did not repeal enough of Obamacare.
Paul said certain elements of the GOP bill needed to guarantee premiums would go down, adding that he wants to have an open dialogue to ensure Republicans keep their promise to the American people on a “full repeal.”
Sen. Ted Cruz.R-Texas, also said he wanted to see the bill do more to lower premiums that have risen significantly in recent years.
“As currently drafted, this bill draft does not do nearly enough to lower premiums,” Cruz said. “That should be the central issue for Republicans — repealing Obamacare and making health care more affordable. Because of this, I cannot support it as currently drafted, and I do not believe it has the votes to pass the Senate.”
McConnell is hoping Pence can unify Senate Republicans in the same way he helped the health care bill successfully move through the House in early May.
House Speaker Paul Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt it was “doable” for the Senate to pass its bill before the August recess, adding, “there’s a sense of urgency.”
Jordain Carney, writing at The HIll, said passing a bill through the Senate by the end of July “would also allow House and Senate negotiators to use the break to merge their separate replacement proposals.”
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Source: Western Journalism