It's a win for the White House, as the U.S. Senate cleared a major step to repealing Obamacare Tuesday. But there's a long road ahead, as multiple senators are still on the fence.
President Trump is largely staying out of the weeds of the policy debate. Instead, critics say he's simply making threats from the sidelines.
So WUSA9 went to the White House after senators gave the green-light to the latest round of the healthcare debate. We asked senior administration officials if the salesman-in-chief can simply seal the deal.
“Do you think the president has to be out selling healthcare more - like we saw President Obama seven, eight years ago?,” WUSA9 reporter Mike Valerio asked Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
“It certainly wouldn't hurt to have the president do that, but it's not necessary,” Mulvaney said. “We all know what we've got right? This issue is not about how about Obamacare is everybody knows it's bad.”
But there are senators who don't know if the replacement plans are worse. Upwards of 22 million could lose their healthcare, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The Administration disputes those figures, and says Republicans have come too far to give up now.
“This is their promise, this president has been here for six months,” Director of Legislative Affairs Mark Short said in an interview Tuesday. “And as he said, I have pen in hand, ready to sign.”
But whether members on the fence will stay loyal to the president, is an open question. Trump is now vehemently criticizing his first Senate supporter, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And his confidence in Sessions, is cratering.
“Is the president spending more time on resign and replace when it comes to Jeff Sessions, as opposed to repeal and replace when it comes to Obamacare?” Valerio asked. “The president is laser focused on his legislative agenda,” Short responded.
For now, the deal isn't done, as the president eyes a key campaign promise, to get healthcare for millions, off life support.