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Trump continues to pull back from health care position

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on March 27. Credit: AP / Susan Walsh

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday he never planned to push Congress to vote for a replacement to the Affordable Care Act until after the election, despite declaring last week that Republican legislative efforts for a new health care proposal were “moving forward.”

“I was never planning a vote prior to the 2020 Election on the wonderful HealthCare package that some very talented people are now developing for me & the Republican Party,” Trump tweeted. “It will be on full display during the Election as a much better & less expensive alternative to Obamacare … This will be a great campaign issue.”

The president said on Twitter he “never asked” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote before the presidential election. Trump’s claim comes a day after McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters that he urged Trump to back off pushing for a Republican replacement plan until after the election.

McConnell told reporters that he advised Trump a Republican-backed plan was unlikely to pass Congress with Democrats currently in control of the U.S. House. An earlier push by Trump to repeal the Obama-era health care program failed in 2017 when Republicans were in control of both chambers of Congress.

“I made clear to him that we were not going to be doing that in the Senate,” McConnell said on Tuesday.

Last week, Trump surprised leaders within his own party when he revived his fight to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump on Twitter declared Republicans would be known as “the party of healthcare” as the Justice Department announced it was backing a lower court decision that ruled the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.

The Justice Department’s move to support the lower court ruling, which is currently being appealed, prompted questions about what plans were in place to substitute the Affordable Care Act should it be invalidated.

Trump last week said he had tapped three Republican Senators to spearhead a new plan, and on Twitter said that efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were “moving forward in the Courts and Legislatively!”

On Monday, after speaking with McConnell by phone, Trump reversed course and tweeted that any GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would be brought forward for a vote “right after” the 2020 election, when he predicted Republicans would win back the House majority.

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