Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said ‘‘good progress’’ was made during a White House meeting between President Donald Trump and Republican senators.
Trump invited them to meet after McConnell decided to delay a vote on a Senate health care bill because there aren’t enough votes to pass it.
McConnell said after the meeting there’s a ‘‘really good chance’’ of passing the bill, but it won’t happen before July 4 as he originally planned.
McConnell says Republicans must come up with a solution because that’s why the American people elected them. He says negotiating with Senate Democrats won’t produce any of the changes sought by Republicans, including to the health markets and Medicaid.
McConnell said the GOP caucus will “continue to work on reaching an agreement that will involve continuing discussions until the end of the week,” according to a White House pool report. He reiterated his earlier comments that the Senate will not take up the leadership-crafted bill until “a couple of weeks after this week.”
“The president got the opportunity to hear from the various members that have concerns about market reforms and Medicaid, the future of Medicaid, and Medicaid expansion. I think the meeting was very helpful.
“The one thing that I would say is that everybody around the table is interested in getting to yes, interested in getting an outcome. Because we know the status quo is simply unacceptable, unsustainable, and no action is just not an option,” McConnell said.
He disagreed when asked about the views of some that taking longer to seek an agreement will make it harder to eventually pass a bill. “We’re not quite there, but I think we’ve got a really good chance of getting there it’ll just take us a little bit longer,” he said.
Asked about the level at which Trump is involved in the ongoing talks and what his message to senators is, McConnell replied: “I think the main thing is, as I’ve said, the status quo is simply unsustainable. It’ll be dealt with in one of two ways: Either Republicans will agree and change the status quo; or markets will continue to collapse and we’ll have to sit down with Senator Schumer,” he said, referring to the Senate Democratic leader. “And my suspicion is in any negotiation with Democrats will include none of the reforms that we would like to make on the market side and the Medicaid side.
“So for all of those reasons, we need to come up with a solution. The American people elected us to do that, and we’re working hard to get there.”