White House to Senate: Pass health bill now or else

WASHINGTON — The White House stepped up demands Sunday that the Senate resume efforts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, suggesting that lawmakers cancel their entire August recess, if needed, to pass legislation after a stunning series of failed votes last week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has declared that it was “time to move on” from health care, scheduling debate early this week on judicial nominations.

But White House aides said President Donald Trump was not giving up on the health repeal effort. They indicated that he remained ready in the coming days to end required payments to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act as part of a bid to let “Obamacare implode” and force the Senate to act.

Trump is “going to make that decision this week,” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said, regarding the insurance company payments. “The president will not accept those who say, quote, ‘It’s time to move on.’”

For seven years, Republicans have promised that once they took power, they’d scrap Obama’s health law and pass a replacement. But that effort crashed in the Senate most recently early Friday — prompting McConnell to declare it’s time to focus on other policy matters.

In a Senate where Republicans hold a 52-48 majority, no Democrats voted for the GOP bill and three Republicans defected in the final vote early Friday.

Trump said in a tweet, “Don’t give up Republican senators, the World is watching.”

Asked if no other legislative business should be taken up until the Senate acts again on health care, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday responded “yes” and suggested the Senate continue working through August if necessary. While the House has begun a…

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