Opposition from two more Republicans may sink Senate healthcare effort

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate’s healthcare overhaul appeared to be in serious trouble on Monday after two more Republicans said they opposed a revised version of the bill.

Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran each announced on Twitter on Monday night that they could not support the bill in its current form, bringing to four the number of Republican senators opposed and effectively killing the revised version of the bill.

The news came even as other Republicans senators were meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, where the president, who made repealing and replacing Obamacare a major promise of his campaign, was lobbying for the bill’s passage. It represents a significant setback for an administration fervently seeking a major legislative victory.

The White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must now decide whether to chart a different path forward or abandon the effort altogether and turn their attention to other priorities such as tax reform.

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” Moran said in a statement on Twitter, slamming what he called a “closed-door” process that produced the bill.

Aides to McConnell were not immediately available for comment, but Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat, said in a statement that a second failure of the bill “is proof positive the core of this bill is unworkable.”

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

A combination photo shows U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) speaking in Washington March 21, 2017 and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) speaking in Washington, January 8, 2015Joshua Roberts (L) and Larry Downing/File Photo

Republican Senators Susan Collins and Rand Paul had already come out against the bill. With Republicans holding 52 seats in the 100-member Senate, McConnell could not afford another defection from his caucus.

Democrats are united in opposition to the measure to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, former Democratic President Barack…

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