Tags: mitch mcconnell | rob portman | odds | GOP | healthcare

Politico: McConnell, Portman at Odds Over Healthcare Bill

Image: Politico: McConnell, Portman at Odds Over Healthcare Bill
Sen. Rob Portman (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 29 Jun 2017 10:37 AM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, clashed over Medicaid in a meeting regarding the healthcare bill earlier this week, according to Politico.

Republicans at the meeting told Politico McConnell slammed Portman for his opposition to slowing the growth of Medicaid, saying that "as OMB [Office of Management and Budget] director, you backed entitlement reform," under former President George W. Bush.

"The leadership has overreached on this bill," Portman replied, according to Politico's sources.

The opposition from Portman appears to showcase McConnell's difficulty in obtaining the 50 votes in the Senate to pass the bill. Politico's report said he could be 15 or 20 votes away.

"Getting the policy right is important, and Rob always appreciates the opportunity to have an open and honest dialogue with his colleagues," said Kevin Smith, Portman's communications director, Politico notes.

Portman's opinion as former OMB director and former House leadership member holds weight with other Republicans, and his dissent makes it easier for them to oppose the measure along with him, Politico reported.

"If he were satisfied, I think that would go a long way," said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who is also against the bill.

One staff member of Republican leadership called Portman "Sen. No," and said he changed his demands while negotiating, but Portman sources denied that, according to Politico. 

Getting to a deal on the bill is "all about striking a balance," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told Politico. "Rob has been a very strong vocal advocate for his position and I think he's gotten some additional funding as a result of that," Thune said.

Portman on Wednesday tweeted:

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, clashed over Medicaid in a meeting regarding the healthcare bill earlier this week, according to Politico.
mitch mcconnell, rob portman, odds, GOP, healthcare
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2017-37-29
Thursday, 29 Jun 2017 10:37 AM
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