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GOP Senate Leadership’s Revised Health Bill Keeps $230 Billion in Taxes

GOP Senate Leadership’s Revised Health Bill Keeps $230 Billion in Taxes
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will take another run at an Obamacare repeal plan Thursday, and this time he’s got leverage: more than $230 billion he can spend over 10 years to sweeten the bill for Republican holdouts.

A new proposal crafted in secret by McConnell and top aides discards earlier plans to repeal a series of Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, a move that effectively frees up that cash. He could spend the money on more care to win support from moderates.

McConnell of Kentucky hasn’t said how he’s planning to satisfy moderates within his party without alienating conservatives, who support deep spending cuts. Republicans say leaders haven’t told them yet which components of the part of the U.S. health care system will benefit.

“I want to see how funds are used to help ensure that people can get access to affordable coverage, and that’s the key,” said Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who objected to McConnell’s original bill. “But we don’t have the specifics.”

McConnell also has the flexibility to add about another $200 billion in spending to the bill that was put toward deficit reduction in his first draft, leaving him with some $430 billion with which to try to win over votes.

For the measure to pass, and Republicans to live up to their promise to eliminate President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment, they can lose no more than two GOP votes from their 52-48 majority amid unanimous Democratic opposition.

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