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Trump To McConnell: ‘Get Back To Work’ On Obamacare Repeal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky faces a tough choice -- irritate the GOP base and work with Democrats or risk passing not much meaningful legislation
Alex Brandon
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky faces a tough choice -- irritate the GOP base and work with Democrats or risk passing not much meaningful legislation

President Donald Trump is using his bully pulpit to scold Kentucky’s senior senator Mitch McConnell for failing to pass a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as 'Obamacare.'

When asked if McConnell should resign from his seat—as recently suggested by Fox News commentator Sean Hannity—Trump said his response would be based on McConnell’s ability to pass Republican initiatives in the future.

“If he doesn’t get repeal and replace done and if he doesn’t get taxes done—meaning cuts and reform—and if he doesn’t get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn’t get them done then you can ask me that question,” Trump said during a press conference outside of his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Earlier today, Trump tweeted a similar sentiment.

McConnell has led the charge against former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare in recent years, promising to repeal it “root and branch.”

Yet votes to pass bills that would have repealed parts of the Affordable Care Act failed to get a majority of votes in the Senate, which Republicans narrowly control with 52 out of 100 members.

The final and narrowest defeat came after three moderate Senate Republicans joined all Democrats in voting against the bill.

Trump has set the sights of his Twitter account on McConnell in recent days, calling on him to jumpstart Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in a series of 140-character jabs after the Senate majority leader said the president had “excessive expectations.”

Congress has disbanded for a month-long August recess and Trump is on a 17-day vacation at his New Jersey golf club.

Dewey Clayton, a political science professor at University of Louisville, says Trump is annoyed that his initiatives haven’t been implemented as quickly as he expected.

“He’s kind of frustrated, lashing out, saying ‘look, let’s just get this done’ without realizing it’s going to be a difficult thing to do,” Clayton said.

At an event ahead of last weekend’s Fancy Farm picnic, McConnell said he would be willing to consider a proposal that would make changes to the Affordable Care Act with support from Democrats—he had previously planned on passing a measure with only Republican votes.

“If the Democrats are willing to support some real reforms rather than an insurance company bailout, I’d be willing to take a look at it,” McConnell said.

Meanwhile Republicans still have a little more time to take advantage of a procedural maneuver that would allow them to pass the bill with only 51 votes instead of the customary 60 votes in the Senate.

Clayton said in the politically polarized environment, there might be some political risk for McConnell to bring Democrats on board.

“I think there’s part of the Republicans out here that don’t want to see that and so will not be happy with that and will look at that as somewhat of a surrender or raising of the white flag,” Clayton said.

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