Senate Republicans claim progress on health care legislation

But in the Senate, where a minority group of members can effectively stall any legislation from advancing, buy-in from the broader Republican Conference will be necessary for the GOP to succeed in overhauling President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, the 2010 health care law.

Short said he believed that the Senate healthcare bill would be "similar" to the House package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to Reuters during an interview in Washington, U.S., May 24, 2017.

McConnell is working with hardly any margin for error. "Now the Senate, I'm sure, will follow suit and get a bill across the finish line this summer that will be great health care for Americans".

"I think you're seeing very strong movement on this Republican agenda to get the economy back on track", he said.

A few senators are wary of getting rid of the expansion at all, even on a slower timeline.

Another key Republican also expressed optimism. "What do we need changed from it, so we still got a ways to go". Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said of the concepts discussed during the lunch.

The only apparent news during President Trump's big infrastructure week is that the door has fully closed on the possibility of a massive bipartisan infrastructure bill, and that likely means a legislative push will slip to 2018.

Graham insisted support from the Kentucky Republican is "irretrievably gone" - and GOP leaders can only afford one more defection and still pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Some Republicans, including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). "We're ready to land this airplane", said Sen. Several senators have spoken of having a "softer landing period" than the House bill, which rolls back the eligibility criteria starting in 2020. The bill, under an amendment sponsored by Rep. Tom MacArthur, allows states to waive Obamacare rules that ban insurance companies from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing health conditions.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, also said Monday that "I don't think there will be" when asked if she shared concerns there wouldn't be a health care bill in the Senate by the end of the year.

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McConnell is a deft political operator; leaving the matter unresolved and inviting continued pressure is the least appealing option.

Additionally, the House bill would phase out the expansion of Medicaid.

"We're going to have a vote one way or the other", Sen.

Democrats have pointed to that strategy as irrefutable proof that Republicans have no interest in reaching across the aisle on health care.

Senate Republicans are negotiating their plan in secret, with lawmakers in a 13-member working group shuffling from one closed-door meeting to another without holding public hearings. Both could balk at the more modest Medicaid cuts and the maintenance of certain taxes; they've already been cagey about where they now stand on the bill. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

Other potential swing votes include Sens. For now, Democratic leadership said they would stay away from any negotiations until Republicans dropped their insistence on a full repeal of Obamacare.

That will likely require putting Republicans on the record opposing Obamacare repeal. Meanwhile, individual insurance markets in Virginia, West Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska and other states have either collapsed or on the verge of collapsing under the weight of insolvency created by ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Lawmakers said preliminary discussions with the CBO have already begun.

I'm not saying I'd trust Republicans anywhere to do the right thing when it comes to health care.

The other sticking point? The House Freedom Caucus was adamant that an Obamacare replacement had to give insurers that flexibility.

Under the normal legislative procedure, the bill would need to clear a 60-vote threshold before it could advance. Whether and how Trump injects himself into the Senate debate could be the single biggest factor as to whether a bill passes quickly.

Senate leaders haven't set a schedule for floor consideration as the Senate HELP Committee continues to try to strike a bipartisan agreement that would limit floor amendments.