GOP divisions multiply as Trump pressures Senate on health care

Congress Health Overhaul

WASHINGTON — Republican divisions over health care multiplied Monday as President Donald Trump pressured GOP senators to act quickly, and Vice President Pence suggested they might have to revert to a straightforward “Obamacare” repeal if they can’t agree on an alternative.

Consensus on a replacement seemed more remote than ever as senators returned to the Capitol from a Fourth of July recess. Some lawmakers spent the break facing critics of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bill, or voicing criticism of their own. But Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican, told reporters that a revised bill would be unveiled this week, and “the goal continues to be to” vote next week.

To succeed, the new legislation will have to address the concerns of conservatives like Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, who want a more full-blown repeal, and moderates like Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who want essentially the opposite, a more generous bill.

McConnell has little room for error as he tries to pass a bill with 50 GOP votes, and Pence as the tie-breaker, in a Senate split 52-48 between Republicans and Democrats. Some GOP senators are questioning McConnell’s partisan approach, and McConnell acknowledged last week that if he can’t get the job done with Republicans alone, he’ll have to turn to Democrats to shore up the market for individual insurance buyers.