President Donald Trump asserted during a cabinet meeting that Democratic lawmakers would refuse to vote for any GOP health care legislation, regardless of its merits. The president's comments arrived amid criticism of how Senate Republicans are drafting a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, commonly called "Obamacare."
On June 12, Trump sat down for the first meeting with his entire cabinet at the White House. The president began his remarks by declaring that his administration's first several months had been the most productive in U.S. history, aside from former President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
"Never has there been a president, with few exceptions -- in the case of FDR, he had a major depression that happened -- who's passed more legislation, who's done more things, than we've done," Trump said.
One piece of legislation that has not yet been passed is a replacement for the ACA, one of Trump's key campaign promises. The president asserted that Democrats would not support any health care bill due to partisanship.
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"If we have the greatest bill in the history of the world on health care, we wouldn't get on vote from the Democrats, because they are obstructionists," Trump said.
The president accused Democratic lawmakers of obstructing a health care overhaul because they calculate it would improve their chances of winning back the House in the 2018 midterms.
"That's what they want to do," Trump continued. "That's the game. They think that's their political game. They're looking to '18."
On June 11, Trump took to social media to fire off a similar statement.
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"The Democrats have no message, not on economics, not on taxes, not on jobs, not on failing [Obamacare]," Trump tweeted out. "They are only OBSTRUCTIONISTS!"
On May 4, House Republicans voted to advance the American Health Care Act. The GOP health care bill received no Democratic votes, according to The New York Times.
Since then, the AHCA has become very unpopular. On June 8, a Quinnipiac University poll found that only 17 percent of registered voters approved of the AHCA, while 62 percent disapproved. 44 percent of respondents said that Trump should support repeal of the ACA, while 53 percent believed that he should not.
Senate Republicans have been crafting their own health care proposal in secrecy. On June 6, the Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, reportedly indicated to Trump that his chamber would hold a vote for the ACA repeal bill before the July 4 recess, according to CNN.
On June 12, two senior Senate GOP aides told Axios that the chamber did not plan on making their health care draft public.
"We aren't stupid," one of the GOP aides said.
On June 8, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri blasted her GOP colleagues for not allowing Democrats to participate in or know the details of the health care draft.
"We have no idea what's being proposed," McCaskill said, according to Business Insider. "There's a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions."
The Missouri senator noted that Democrats had passed the ACA in 2010 on a party-line vote, but had also invited and included several GOP amendments in legislation.
"Listen, this is hard to take because I know we made mistakes on the Affordable Care Act… one of the criticisms we got over and over again was that the vote was partisan," McCaskill said. "Well, you couldn't have a more partisan process than what you're engaged in right now."