WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ decision to oppose the GOP push to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul leaves the effort all but dead, with even party leaders conceding that their prospects are dismal.
“It’s going to be a heavy lift,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 GOP Senate leader, said Monday, after Collins joined a small but pivotal cluster of Republicans saying they’re against the measure. He called the prospects “bleak.”
“We don’t have the support for it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
The collapse marks a replay of the embarrassing loss President Donald Trump and party leaders suffered in July, when the Senate rejected three attempts to pass legislation erasing Obama’s 2010 statute. The GOP has made promises to scrap the law a high-profile vow for years, and its failure to deliver despite controlling the White House and Congress has infuriated conservatives whose votes Republican candidates need.
To resuscitate their push, Republicans would need to change opposing senators’ minds, which they’ve tried unsuccessfully to do for months. Collins told reporters that she made her decision despite a phone call from Trump, who’s been futilely trying to press unhappy GOP senators to back the measure.