Sarah Sanders: ‘We’ll Get Back to You’ on Senate Healthcare Bill Details as ‘Stakeholders’ Brought to Table

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Sanders was asked about the firing of FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other topics. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House Principle Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in the Thursday afternoon briefing that President Donald Trump “wants to bring the stakeholders to the table,” for conversations over the newly released Senate Republican Leadership’s healthcare bill before addressing specific items contained within it.

Senate Republican leadership released a discussion draft of their own healthcare bill on Thursday morning. Sanders relayed the President’s sentiment on the new bill:

The President is pleased to see the process moving forward swiftly in congress and he looks forward to seeing a finalized bill on his desk so that we can finally repeal and replace Obamacare before it completely collapses.

Sanders referred to an announcement Wednesday that Anthem is leaving Obamacare exchanges in both Wisconsin and Indiana – the state the company was founded in.

Asked about whether an Obamacare replacement bill would make it to the president in the next couple of weeks, Sanders said the administration is not as concerned with a timeline as with the “final product.”

“We’re gonna continue being part of technical assistance and providing that with the House and the Senate Members and we work to get the best bill we can,” said Sanders.

Sanders was asked, in light of Medicaid cuts in the Senate bill, if the new bill has enough “heart” and if it was “not mean.” She replied that she had not had that conversation, but that the President had responded that this is a negotiation.

She later clarified that the president “hasn’t weighed in specifically on any specific measure in this bill and as he said earlier today, this is a negotiation between the House and the Senate and we’re gonna play a part in that.”

Sanders said the president has been involved in the process of crafting healthcare reform through members of his administration.

“We’ll keep you updated as his involvement takes places,” said Sanders when questioned about whether the President would whip votes for a Senate healthcare bill even if he doesn’t agree with every aspect of it. She added again that there are a “large number” of people from his administration involved in the process.

Sanders would not address the specific items in the new Senate bill as it stands now, “I think he wants to bring the stakeholders to the table, have those conversations and we’ll get back to you as we go through that process, but I think right now we’re in a negotiation process.”

The U.S. House passed it’s own Obamacare replacement bill. Trump was very openly involved in the passage of that bill and held a celebratory event in the White House Rose Garden just following the passage. A host of House legislators attended the event and along with the president offered words of congratulations to one another for getting the bill passed.

Republican Senator Rand Paul has already announced that he, along with Sens. Mike Lee, Ron Johnson and Ted Cruz will not support the new Senate healthcare legislation as it stands. A statement from Paul announces that the current version of the Senate bill will not fulfill promises to repeal Obamacare and lower healthcare costs. Paul was very vocal in opposing an early version of the House healthcare bill and after votes on that bill were canceled, he went golfing with Trump. The House bill later passed.

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