By JIM RICHARDSON, Associated PressAUSTIN, Texas (AP) A big fight over the Republican health care legislation that passed the House and is headed to President Donald Trump’s desk has taken a new twist, with some members questioning how much power the GOP can wield.
In a meeting Thursday with a group of conservative Republicans, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said he was skeptical that Republicans have the votes to pass a health care plan that does not require a majority vote of the Senate.
“If we can’t pass this bill, the House Republicans will be responsible for it,” Barrasso said.
“So we’re going to have to have a plan that we can pass with the Democratic caucus.”
Barrasso is a longtime ally of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and is the No. 3 Republican in the chamber.
But his comments suggest that the GOP is not sure whether to make a compromise with Democrats, which would allow a vote on the bill to occur with a simple majority of the 51 votes.
Trump has expressed a willingness to compromise with Democratic leaders on the health care issue, and the president on Thursday praised House Speaker Paul Ryan’s efforts to reach a deal with Senate Democrats.
But the White House is still keeping a close eye on how the health bill will fare in the Senate, which could determine whether it is a success or failure for Trump and his administration.
Trump’s administration has repeatedly urged Congress to pass the legislation before Christmas, saying that passage would put the economy on the right path.
Republicans and Democrats have been working to reach an agreement on the legislation, which includes a new Medicaid expansion, the tax overhaul, and other changes.
The Senate passed the legislation Thursday by a 52-48 margin.
The House has not passed a bill in more than four years, but a Senate Republican aide said that there is a plan to move forward with the legislation if Democrats do not support it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.