GOP Short on Affordable Care Act Repeal Votes

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama’s health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump said Wednesday the Republicans’ last-resort Affordable Care Act repeal effort remains two or three votes short, forecasting days of furious lobbying ahead with a crucial deadline looming next week.

The legislation by Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would repeal major pillars of former President Barack Obama’s health law, replacing them with block grants to states to design their own health care programs. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to round up 50 votes to pass the legislation before Sept. 30, when special rules preventing a Democratic filibuster will expire.

“We think this has a very good chance, Obamacare is only getting worse,” Trump told reporters covering the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York. “At some point the Senate is going to be forced to make a deal.”

By his reckoning, “we’re at 47 or 48 already, senators, and a lot of others are looking at it very positively.” Trump’s comments came several hours after McConnell’s office announced that the majority Trump touched on one of the most contentious aspects of the bill in a tweet Wednesday night, asserting: “I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace.” Whether it truly does protect people with pre-existing health problems is fiercely under debate.

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