Trump feels ‘very good’ about Senate health care bill, whatever it is, White House says

Andrew Bahl
President Trump meeting with Republican senators in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump feels “very good” about the Senate’s progress in drafting its own version of his signature health care bill, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Monday.

When asked if the president or members of his legislative team has seen a copy of the bill, however, Spicer said he did not know.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants a vote by July 4 on his caucus’ version of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House last month.

But McConnell is attempting to bridge gaps within his caucus on a series of issues, from Medicaid expansion, to covering Americans with preexisting conditions to funding Planned Parenthood. Many Republican lawmakers have expressed frustration with the process and some have said they have not seen a text of the bill.

Republicans have pledged not to vote on the matter before the Congressional Budget Office scores their version of the bill, a process that takes two to three weeks. To meet McConnell’s deadline, a version of the bill must be available soon — within days.

Despite the uncertainty, Spicer said the administration was confident the bill would eventually make its way to the president’s desk.

“This is something Senate Majority Leader McConnell is working very closely with the administration on,” Spicer said. “We feel very good about the progress that has been happening in the meetings.

“I know [the legislative team] is in constant contact,” Spicer said, adding that McConnell “knows his members, he knows the Senate and he knows this issue” in determining when to hold a vote.

Trump initially cheered the House version of the AHCA, holding a Rose Garden ceremony to mark its passage with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other top lawmakers. But he has since indicated that he was displeased with the end result of that bill, telling a group of Senate Republicans last week that he thought the bill was “mean.”

CNN reported that the president noted he was happy the Senate was moving away from the AHCA and that he wanted a piece of legislation that was more “generous, kind [and] with heart” for those with preexisting conditions and current users of the health care exchanges.

Spicer declined to discuss the president’s opinion on the AHCA Monday.

“I’m not going to comment on rumors coming from the press,” Spicer said.

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