In a high-stakes bid for conservative support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to demands from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to allow insurers to sell low-cost, skimpier plans as part of a new but still-reeling health care bill being released Thursday, two GOP aides said.
However, including that provision seems likely to alienate moderates and perhaps other conservatives. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who’d partnered with Cruz, tweeted that the version they crafted wasn’t in the bill, adding, “Something based on it has, but I have not seen it or agreed to it.”
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The maneuvering by McConnell, R-Ky., came as party leaders labored to prevent losing a showdown vote next week on their plan for repealing much of President Barack Obama’s health care law, a vote in which they have no margin for error. Since Democrats uniformly oppose the effort, McConnell needs the votes of 50 of the 52 GOP senators to prevail, and two already seem certain to vote “no” — conservative Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
McConnell also faced pressure from President Donald Trump, who has warned he will be “very angry” if the majority leader doesn’t deliver.
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