Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey should appoint a successor to the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who will support GOP legislation to repeal Obamacare, senate Republicans told The Hill on Wednesday.
"If we re-engage in that discussion in some point in the future, it would be nice to have members who enable us to pass it," Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said, when asked about the chances of a future vote on legislation to appeal Obamacare.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said he hopes the next senator from Arizona will be a "strong ally" who "recognizes that Obamacare is not a proper solution."
Republican lawmakers, however, said they will not have time this year for another repeal vote and an opportunity in 2019 would only be relevant if the GOP keeps its majorities in both the Senate and the House following the midterm elections in November.
McCain's vote to reject legislation that would repeal core pillars of Obamacare was the most impactful decision of his final year in the Senate, as it thwarted the GOP's best chance in its eight-year odyssey to repeal the law, according to NBC News.
It also forced party leaders to leave aside major healthcare legislation for the rest of the session.
"McCain was personally conservative but ideologically inconsistent," a senior Senate GOP aide told The Hill. "I think Ducey is going to pick someone more like himself. He's a more reliable conservative."
Republicans also said they hope a new senator from Arizona will have a better working relationship with Trump, with Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., saying "By having a sincere appreciation, admiration and respect, you can get a lot more done than [by being] adversarial."
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