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Thursday February 27th, 2020 11:49PM

The Latest: Trump meeting with GOP senators at White House

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican legislation overhauling the Obama health care law (all times EDT):

4:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are hosting Republican senators at the White House to discuss flailing efforts to pass a new health care bill.

Most of the GOP senators arrived at the White House Tuesday after Senate Republican leaders shelved a vote on their prized health care bill Tuesday until at least next month.

A GOP rebellion left them lacking enough votes to even begin debate.

Trump said Tuesday that "we're getting very close but for the country we have to have health care."

Trump invited the GOP senators for a meeting in the East Room to discuss efforts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature health care bill.

He says "I think the Senate bill is going to be great."

___

2:40 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is delaying a vote on a Senate health care bill while GOP leadership works toward getting enough votes.

He says they are "still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place."

Republican senators are headed to the White House Tuesday afternoon to talk to President Donald Trump about the future of the bill.

McConnell says the White House is "very anxious to help" and encouraged senators to go to the meeting.

McConnell said health care is "a big complicated subject," and complicated bills are "hard to pull together and hard to pass." He told reporters on Tuesday that he was very optimistic.

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1:50 p.m.

Sources tell the Associated Press that Senate Republican leaders have abruptly delayed the vote on their health care bill until after the July 4th recess.

That's the word Tuesday as the GOP faced five defections from its ranks just hours after the Congressional Budget Office said the bill would force 22 million off insurance rolls.

It was a major blow for the seven-year-old effort to repeal and replace Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Separately, President Donald Trump has invited all GOP senators to the White House Tuesday afternoon.

__

1:10 p.m.

New analysis shows that millionaires would get tax cuts averaging $52,000 a year from the Senate Republicans' health bill.

Middle-income families would get about $260.

The analysis was done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. It found that half of the tax cuts would go to families making more than $500,000 a year.

At the other end, families making $20,000 a year would, on average, get a $190 tax cut.

The Republican health bill would repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health law. The law imposed a series of tax increases mainly targeted high-income families. The Senate Republican bill would repeal the taxes, though not all at once.

___

12:20 p.m.

Major veterans' organizations are voicing concerns about a Senate Republican bill to repeal the nation's health care law. They fear the impact of rising insurance costs and are worried the underfunded Department of Veterans Affairs won't be able to fill the coverage gap.

Paralyzed Veterans of America is one of the six biggest nonpartisan veterans' groups. In a letter to senators Tuesday, it criticized an "opaque and closed" legislative process and proposed cuts to Medicaid that could lead to hundreds of thousands of lower-income veterans losing their insurance.

The organization joins a Democratic-leaning group, VoteVets, in opposing the bill. VoteVets launched a six-figure ad campaign in two states to pressure senators.

Disabled American Veterans and AMVETS also are expressing concern about the Senate legislation backed by President Donald Trump.

___

11:45 a.m.

One of a handful of Republican senators opposing the Senate health care bill is headed to the White House to talk with President Donald Trump about the measure.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tweeted about his visit, saying he was: "Headed to meet with @realDonaldTrump this afternoon." He added that the current bill is "not real repeal and needs major improvement."

Paul has said it is worse to "pass a bad bill than to pass no bill."

Senate leaders are scrambled to rescue their health care bill in the face of defections after Congress' nonpartisan budget office said the measure would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than President Barack Obama's health care law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been aiming to win Senate passage for the bill his week.

__

11:34 a.m.

The New York attorney general is threatening to file a lawsuit to block the implementation of a Republican health care overhaul.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that the evolving Senate bill violates women's constitutional rights by de-funding Planned Parenthood. It also violates New York's state's rights, he said, by targeting a New York-specific Medicaid provision.

Schneiderman said, "If the version of the health care bill proposed last week ever becomes law, I am committed to going to court to challenge it to protect New Yorkers from these wrong-headed and unconstitutional" policies.

The Democrat made the comments in a speech to state business leaders. He later said his office is "doing the research" to prepare for possible litigation.

Senate Republican leaders planned to pass the bill this week, but so far lack the votes to take up the measure.

___

11:20 a.m.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee has become the fifth Republican senator to oppose starting debate on the GOP health care bill. That deals another blow to party leaders hoping to push the top-priority measure through the Senate this week.

Lee was among four conservative senators who announced last week they oppose the bill's current version. Lee spokesman Conn Carroll said Tuesday that the lawmaker will not vote for a crucial procedural motion allowing the Senate to begin debate on the legislation, unless it's changed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can lose the votes of only two of the 52 Republican senators to begin debate and ultimately pass the bill. All Democrats oppose it.

Lee has favored a fuller repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law than the current GOP bill.

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10:25 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has faith in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's ability to round up the votes for the Republican health care bill despite growing opposition in the Senate.

Ryan told reporters on Tuesday: "I would not bet against Mitch McConnell."

The Wisconsin Republican said he has every expectation that the Senate will move ahead on the bill, which the Congressional Budget Office says would kick 22 million off the insurance rolls. The bill would cut taxes, reduce the deficit and phase out the Medicaid expansion implemented by Barack Obama's health law.

Ryan said every Republican senator campaigned on repealing and replacing Obama's law.

The speaker said House members are waiting to see what happens in the Senate. The House could try to vote after the Senate to push the bill and get it to President Donald Trump before the weeklong July 4th recess.

__

7:45 a.m.

Senate Republican leaders are scrambling to rescue their health care bill. It's in trouble as opposition from rebellious Republicans grows.

The defections came as Congress' nonpartisan budget referee said the measure would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than President Barack Obama's law, which Republicans are trying to replace.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was hoping to staunch his party's rebellion, a day after the Congressional Budget Office released its report. He's been aiming at winning Senate passage this week, before a weeklong July 4 recess that leaders worry opponents will use to weaken support for the legislation.

__

4:02 a.m.

Congress' nonpartisan budget referee says the Senate Republican health care bill would leave 22 million additional people uninsured in 2026 compared to President Barack Obama's law.

And now, disgruntled centrist and conservative GOP senators are forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to scramble to rescue the measure before debate even begins.

The Kentucky Republican was hoping to staunch his party's rebellion on Tuesday, a day after the Congressional Budget Office released its report. He plans to suggest revisions to the legislation in hopes of rounding up votes.

McConnell wants to win Senate passage this week. But three GOP senators are threatening to vote against a procedural motion to begin debate, a vote expected Wednesday. To be approved, no more than two of the 52 GOP senators can vote against it.

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