Congressional sources say President Donald Trump has told Republican senators that the House healthcare bill is “mean” and that the Senate version should be “more generous.”
The remarks were a surprising critique of a Republican-written House measure whose passage Trump fought for and embraced. They also seem to undercut efforts by Senate conservatives to impose restrictions in their chamber’s legislation, such as curbing the Medicaid health care program for the poor and limiting the services insurers must cover.
Trump memorably held a Rose Garden ceremony with House GOP members after the American Health Care Act passed the chamber last month. There, he called the House legislation a “great plan” and said it was “very, very, incredibly well-crafted.”
The sources say the president did not say what aspects of the bill he was characterising.
Trump’s comments were described by people who received accounts of a White House lunch Trump had Tuesday with 15 GOP senators. They spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal a closed-door conversation.
The Congressional Budget Office analysis of the American Health Care Act found that 23 million more people would be without insurance in 2026 under the bill than the current baseline. Additionally, it found that healthcare costs for poorer, older Americans would skyrocket.
The comments also reflect some of the public comments made by Trump prior to the luncheon.
“The House has passed a bill and the Senate is working very, very hard — and specifically the folks in this room. I appreciate what you’re doing — to pass a phenomenal bill for the people of our country,” Trump said with media in the room. “Generous, kind, and with heart. That might mean adding additional money into it.”
Senate GOP leaders are currently writing their healthcare bill, though Democrats and even some fellow Republicans have not seen any of the legislative text.
There are a few issues that still divide the Republican conference, including funding the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly wants to have a vote on the bill before the week-long July 4 recess.
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