Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may see a loss on his chamber's version of the American Health Care Act as a boon – in part because it was hastily written and not greeted with strong enthusiasm by many members of his own party.
McConnell, 75, the six-term Kentucky Republican, is generally reluctant to bring a bill to the Senate floor that "he does not think can pass," The New York Times reports.
But some Republicans, including Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, could face a political price for voting to repeal Obamacare, which has grown in popularity since its inception in 2010.
"I have serious concerns about the bill’s impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid," Heller said after McConnell unveiled the proposal Thursday morning.
The first-term senator is the party's most-vulnerable incumbent in the next year's congressional elections, the Times reports.
Further, with a 52-48 majority in the Senate, McConnell cannot lose more than two votes from his own party.
Herein lies McConnell's dilemma, according to the report: he could pull the bill from the floor if he doesn't have the numbers – leaving House Republicans "exposed" – or "decide that the matter cannot be closed without a vote and take his chances that recalcitrant members can be pulled along."
South Dakota Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, told the Times: "I think everybody wants to get to 'yes.'
"And there are some things that we’ve said all along that are dialable on this bill that we can hopefully tweak a little bit before it comes to the floor."
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