Health care vote delay gives foes, supporters more time

WASHINGTON (AP) — Foes from left and right are using the delayed vote on the Republican health care bill to make it as politically toxic as possible for wavering GOP senators to support it. But the postponement also gives Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House more time to cut the deals they need to rescue the imperiled measure.

“Look, we need to tackle this problem,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday, signaling that days of bargaining and persuasion with reluctant colleagues lay ahead. “The only way we’ll get there is with continued hard work, and that’s just what we intend to do. “

AARP was continuing TV and radio ads aimed at undecided Republican senators in five states, warning, “Your family’s coverage could be taken away altogether.” Planned Parenthood, labor and liberal groups were holding rallies outside the Capitol. And the conservative Americans for Prosperity was urging members to pressure GOP senators to strengthen a bill that the group’s president, Tim Phillips, says doesn’t go “anywhere near far enough” to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.

From the other side, Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said the GOP needs to prove that “we can tackle tough issues.” The conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition announced its support for a bill that its chairman, Ralph Reed, called “a giant step forward.” And White House spokesman Sean Spicer said some senators — he didn’t initially say who — were going to the White House on Monday to discuss health care.

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“There’s no one better than Mitch McConnell when it comes to knowing how and when to make a bill successful in the Senate,” Spicer told reporters. “So we have every confidence in the majority leader’s ability to get this done. And the president will do whatever he has to to support those efforts.”

On balance, the delay…

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