McConnell on Healthcare Failure: ‘Everybody Has Given It Their Best Shot’

By Annabel Scott | July 18, 2017 | 5:00 PM EDT

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) 

(CNN.com) 

(CNSNews.com) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters that despite the Republicans’ inability to get enough votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, GOP lawmakers have “given it their best shot.”

“This has been a very, very challenging experience for all of us,” McConnell said when asked on Tuesday if he believes his leadership has been damaged by the healthcare debate.

“It’s pretty obvious that we don’t have 50 members who can agree on a replacement,” said McConnell. “A lot of people have been involved in the discussion, very passionate discussions. But everybody has given it their best shot and, as of today, we just simply do not have 50 senators who can agree on what ought to replace the existing law.”  

McConnell continued to push the idea of just an Obamacare repeal even after Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVa.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.) said they would not stand behind a repeal without a replacement, leaving McConnell with less than the necessary votes needed to pass the proposed plan.

“What we do have is a vote that many of us made two years ago at a time when the president of the United States would not sign the legislation that would repeal Obamacare and with a two-year delay, give us an opportunity to build something better on a Bipartisan basis,” said McConnell. “That’s what I sense most of our members would like to vote on now and we will be doing that in the near future.”

McConnell, when asked if Republicans will work with Democrats if the repeal doesn’t pass, told reporters, “we will have to see what happens.”

“We will have demonstrated that Republicans, by themselves, are not prepared at this particular point to do a replacement,” he said.

McConnell also pointed to the accomplishments made by the Republican Congress when asked how he plans to explain his failure to repeal and replace Obamacare to his voters, which he and other GOP lawmakers have been campaigning on for years.

“Well, we have a new Supreme Court justice,” said McConnell.  “We have 14 repeals of regulations and we’re only 6 months into it.”

“Last time I looked, Congress goes on for two years,” he said. “We will be moving on to comprehensive tax reform and to infrastructure. There is much work left to be done for the American people and we are ready to tackle it.”