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McConnell says GOP doesn't have votes to replace Obamacare, but will vote on repeal in 'very near future'

  • Three Republican senators said Tuesday that they would not vote on a bill that would only repeal Obamacare, and not replace it.
  • Mitch McConnell said there will be a vote on repealing Obamacare in the "very near future."

Republican Senate leadership defended its intention to repeal Obamacare, after support for the proposal quickly eroded.

Late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his party would aim to pass a repeal-only bill after the collapse of the latest GOP plan to replace Obamacare.

But that suggestion quickly lost support, as three Republican senators said Tuesday that they would not vote on that bill.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, McConnell emphasized that his proposal is the same as the vote held to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2015. The Kentucky Republican said there will be a vote on repealing Obamacare in the "very near future," but that the GOP "simply" doesn't have the 50 senators it needs to replace the law right now.

"What we do have is a vote that many of us made two years ago at a time when the president of the United States would not sign the legislation that would repeal Obamacare and with a two-year delay gives us an opportunity to build something better on a bipartisan basis," McConnell said.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that he's in favor of a motion to proceed. He called on his colleagues to vote the same way they did in 2015 and that if senators cannot vote the same way, Paul said they need to explain that to voters.