The Senate cannot afford to lose any more Republican votes on the health care bill and now another Republican senator has said his vote on a key measure is in jeopardy.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, told reporters Monday that he was upset over comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly made to some moderate Republican senators last week in his office following the release of the revised health care draft.
In a meeting with senators from Medicaid expansion states, McConnell reportedly told them that the cuts to Medicaid would likely never happen.
The Washington Post first reported McConnell’s comments last week.
“I did find the story about Leader McConnell’s comments about Medicaid reforms just ‘too far in the future, probably never be enacted’ troubling,” Johnson told ABC News. “That may put the motion to proceed vote in jeopardy.”
Two Republican senators have already said they would vote no on the procedural vote — a third no would stop the bill from moving forward.
In a statement, McConnell said, “I prefer to speak for myself, and my view is that the Medicaid per capita cap with a responsible growth rate that is sustainable for taxpayers is the most important long-term reform in the bill. That is why it has been in each draft we have released.”
Johnson was no fan of the original health care draft and cautioned Senate leaders to hold off on voting last month.
But in recent days, Johnson had warmed up to the bill, and said he was on board with the key vote that would have opened up the bill for debate on the Senate floor.
That vote was scheduled to be held this week, but it was delayed over the weekend to accommodate the recovery of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who had surgery Friday to remove a blood clot.
“I was strongly for motion to proceed,” Johnson said. “After I read those [McConnell] comments again, I found those rather troubling.”