I can’t imagine what he could have said to put enough shine on the current version of an Obamacare replacement bill that would persuade Senator Cruz to embrace it.
The Senate needs 50 votes to get the bill to pass. They can’t rely on Democrats to help in that effort, so they have to pull all the Republican support they can muster. To date, that seems a faraway hope, as well.
Senators Cruz, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and as of Friday, Dean Heller have all rejected the bill, as written.
Cruz, Paul, Johnson, and Lee released this statement on Thursday:
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” the statement said.
“There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs.”
Senate Republicans know how bleak their chances look, given the growing opposition.
President Trump ran on a full repeal of Obamacare – not a tweak of Obamacare – but he’s fully behind this version.
To prove it, the “deal maker” took to the phones to try and convince those who are opposed to the bill to drop their concerns and join Mitch McConnell and company in ramming another bill nobody seems to have read down our throats.
A report from the Washington Post says the president called Senator Cruz personally, in an attempt to get him to change his mind.
Publicly, Trump is saying he believes they’ll have the votes to pass.
They can only afford to lose 2 Republican votes, but lack 5, so far.
My suspicion is that Cruz, who is up for reelection in 2018, will begin to see pushback by way of some of the PACs that back all things Trump, such as America First Policies. They’re the group about to launch a seven-figure ad buy against Senator Heller in Nevada.
This won’t be Trump’s first time involving himself in the process on this level. He reportedly made calls during the House GOP’s vote on their version of an Obamacare replacement.
Cruz’s team aren’t saying a lot about the call between the senator and the president, except to say it was a substantive exchange of ideas.
We may need to wait until next week before we know if Trump was able to close the deal.