Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in new comments Wednesday that Republicans would try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats on Election Day.
“If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks… We’re not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working.”
The comment was the second time in recent days that McConnell, R-Ky., has made such a promise. Republicans failed to overhaul Obamacare in 2017 after holding a majority in all branches of government. The House passed legislation to replace the law, but the Senate failed to do so, with three Republican providing critical opposition to a repeal measure.
Republicans had intended to hash out the differences of the two chambers’ healthcare bills in conference, but the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was the deciding vote not to advance the package. Republicans did succeed, though, in zeroing out Obamacare’s penalty on the uninsured as part of the tax bill President Trump signed into law late last year.
McConnell told Reuters that failing at the repeal was “the one disappointment of this Congress from a Republican point of view.”
On Tuesday, McConnell told The Weekly Standard that he would like to give Obamacare repeal another shot.
“That’s the one place we came up short, and I’d like to finish the job,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seized on the remarks in a statement, warning that Republicans would “take away” healthcare.
“Americans should make no mistake about it: if Republicans retain the Senate they will do everything they can to take away families’ health care and raise their costs, whether it be eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions, repealing the health care law, or cutting Medicare and Medicaid,” he said. “Americans should take Senator McConnell at his word.”
Republicans hold a 51-seat majority in the Senate. According to the Cook Political Report, Democrats have a chance at picking up four seats, but also risk losing five others. Democrats hope to be able to gain control of the House on Nov. 6.