WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) - A senior U.S. Republican senator predicted on Sunday that the Republican bill to roll back Obamacare would likely fail, adding to growing signs that the bill is in trouble.
“My view is that it’s probably going to be dead,” Senator John McCain, a senior U.S. Republican, said on the CBS program, “Face the Nation.”
The Senate bill, which faces unified Democratic opposition, has been further imperiled during a week-long recess where several Republican senators have had to return to their states and face constituents strongly opposed to the bill. Senators return to Washington on Monday.
The Senate bill keeps much of Obamacare intact but strips away most of its funding. It repeals most Obamacare taxes, overhauls the law’s tax credits and ends its Medicaid expansion. It also goes beyond repealing Obamacare by cutting funding for the Medicaid program beginning in 2025.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on Sunday on Fox News that U.S. President Donald Trump expected Congress to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell aims to hold a vote on the legislation, which needs the support of at least 50 of the Senate’s 52 Republicans, before a six-week recess that begins on July 29.
Yet even McConnell cast doubt on the bill’s prospects for passage last week.
Speaking at a luncheon in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell said if Congress fails to follow through on a seven-year pledge to repeal Obamacare, then it must act to shore up private health insurance markets, comments seen as providing a pathway to a bipartisan deal to fix the health system. (Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb, Valerie Volcovici and Caren Bohan; Editing by James Dalgleish)