Trump Threatens, Pressures GOP Senators on Health Care

'He wants to remain a senator, doesn't he?'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2017 2:25 PM CDT
Trump Threatens, Pressures GOP Senators on Health Care
President Donald Trump gestures towards Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. while speaking during a luncheon GOP leadership, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, in the State Dinning Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Trump treated 49 Republican senators to lunch Wednesday while threatening and pressuring them to get something done on health care, Reuters reports. According to the Hill, the pressure started with Sen. Dean Heller, who opposed the GOP health care bill and was seated next to Trump at the lunch. "He wants to remain a senator, doesn't he?" USA Today quotes Trump as joking about Heller. Heller's re-election in 2018 is far from assured. But the president also made the stakes clear to the other senators present. “Any senator who votes against debate says you are fine with ObamaCare,” Trump said. "Frankly inaction is not an option," he added.

Trump told the senators they shouldn't leave for their scheduled August recess without getting health care done. "I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan," he said. Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on repealing the ACA without a replacement plan next week despite signs the effort will fail. "I don't think anyone's mind is going to get changed sitting right there," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said of the lunch with Trump. She has said she will vote against repealing the ACA. While pressuring senators to repeal the ACA, which he called "a big lie" that came "directly from the president," Trump is also distancing himself from whatever "they" end up doing. "They MUST keep their promise to America," Trump tweeted about senators before his lunch with them. (Read more health care reform stories.)

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