iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Less than an hour after White House press secretary Sean Spicer admitted that neither President Donald Trump nor his advisers had viewed a draft of Senate Republicans’ health care bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced that it will make its debut on Thursday.
The announcement comes as Democrats, and some Republicans, on Capitol Hill have voiced concerns that the process to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act has been shrouded in secrecy.
“I expect to have a discussion draft on Thursday and we will go to the floor once we have a CBO score, likely next week,” said McConnell Tuesday afternoon.
The majority leader insisted that Americans will have “plenty of time” to review the bill, saying, “We’ve been discussing all the elements of this endlessly for seven years. Everybody pretty well understands it. Everybody will have adequate time to take a look at it. I think this will be about as transparent as it can be.”
Earlier Tuesday, in response to a question at the day’s press briefing, Spicer told reporters that he didn’t know if Trump had seen the bill.
“I know the president has been on the phone extensively with the leader and with key senators so I don’t know if he’s seen the legislation or not,” said Spicer. “I know that they’ve been working extremely hard and the president has been giving his input and his ideas, feedback to them, and he’s very excited about where this thing is headed.”
Pressed whether the president’s advisers had viewed a bill, Spicer again said that he was unaware and added that he himself did not know “where we are in terms of a final plan.”
“I know that they are up there working hand in glove with them,” said Spicer, adding, “I know that the staff has been working very closely with the leader’s staff, with [the Senate Finance Committee] and others, so I don’t want to get ahead of an announcement on Sen. McConnell saying when that final product is done.”
Earlier in the briefing, Spicer expounded upon a CNBC report from earlier Tuesday that Trump told a group of technology CEOs that the health care plan needed to have “more heart.”
“I mean, the president clearly wants a bill that has heart in it,” said Spicer. “He believes that health care is something that is near and dear to so many families and individuals.”
McConnell declined to describe how the Senate bill will have more “heart” than the House bill, saying only that it will “speak for itself” and “be different.”
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