Senate Might Roll the Dice on Health Care

Leaders ponder putting measure on floor absent majority support

Sen. John Thune said the GOP leadership team was leaning toward holding a vote on health care whether they have the votes for passage or not. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans might decide to be riverboat gamblers, putting a health care reconciliation bill on the floor whether or not they have the needed votes.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said entering a regular Monday leadership meeting that it was the intent to hold a vote on the floor whether or not it was assured of passage.

“I still think in the end there’s a huge reason why we have to get to 50 on this,” Thune said. “Obviously we’re going to have a vote one way or the other, but if we don’t pass something, and we go into ’18 ... it’s on us to try to get this fixed. The Democrats created a mess, but we’re in charge now and it’s up to us to fix it.”

Thune acknowledged that members had varying perspectives on the likelihood of achieving the needed votes.

“I think in the end, we’ll get to where we having something to vote on, and I would hope that we’ll get to where we have 50 votes plus the vice president, because I think it’s really important for us to act on this,” Thune said.

Sen. Roy Blunt, another member of the leadership team, told a gaggle of reporters that the current work period could prove critical.

“My personal view is we have now until the Fourth of July to decide whether the votes are there or not, and I hope they are,” the Missouri Republican said.

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