Others were less diplomatic about the disharmony in the effort to fulfill one of the GOP’s signature campaign promises. The biggest issues yet to be resolved, according to Republican senators, include how expansively the federal government should fund Medicaid, whether to enable states to avoid key ACA regulations and how to structure tax credits to replace federal insurance subsides offered under the current law.
“We’re having meetings, discussions about it to the point of utter boredom every lunch that we have,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “So I think they’re trying to build consensus and there isn’t consensus yet.”
McConnell and the top Republicans on three committees are expected to work with staff to take the lead on crafting the measure, GOP aides said.
But what their final product will look like and when it will be ready for a vote were up in the air as senators dispersed to their home states for the one-week Memorial Day recess Thursday. With just a 52-to-48 advantage over Democrats, Republicans can afford only two defections. McConnell told Reuters this week “I don’t know how” to get to 50 votes. And Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.) offered a less than confident, “I hope so,” when asked if Republicans can get to 50.