McConnell: 'Big challenge' to pass ObamaCare repeal in Senate
© Greg Nash
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMo Brooks: McConnell should leave leadership if he can't repeal ObamaCare Huckabee calls for repeal of 17th Amendment after healthcare failure ObamaCare repeal: Now what? MORE (R-Ky.) warned Thursday that Republicans will face an uphill battle in their effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare in the upper chamber. 
 
"If the House is able to pass it, we'll have a big challenge trying to pass it in the Senate as well," he told Newsmax TV. 
 
His comments come as some House lawmakers, as well as President Trump's budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, have voiced optimism on reaching a deal to move a new bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare after they return from the two-week April recess. 
 
McConnell said Thursday that while the status quo of ObamaCare isn't sufficient, "how exactly it's going to change is not clear yet." 
 
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GOP infighting killed an initial repeal-and-replace bill in the House. That legislation also appeared dead on arrival in the Senate, where several GOP senators were publicly opposed to the measure. 
 
"In four straight elections we told the people that we wanted to repeal and replace ObamaCare," McConnell said on Thursday. "Obviously, that's a lot harder to do than to say." 
 
Republicans have been divided on how much of ObamaCare to roll back. Conservatives want to allow states to get a waiver for ObamaCare's "essential health benefits," coverage that insurers are required to provide, as well as for several other provisions. 
 
GOP Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzEx-Cruz campaign manager: Trump presidency 'is effectively over' Senate heading for late night ahead of ObamaCare repeal showdown Two GOP senators back ObamaCare repeal after Ryan call MORE (Texas), Mike LeeMike LeeOvernight Cybersecurity: Senate sends Russia sanctions bill to Trump | Senators unveil email privacy bill | Russia tried to spy on Macron with Facebook Overnight Tech: Driverless car bill advances in House | Bezos now world's richest person | Tech groups hail new email privacy bill How do you get lower cost drugs? Give the FDA a bigger stick MORE (Utah) and Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Defense: Military won't lift transgender ban until Trump sends directions | House passes national security spending | Russian sanctions bill heads to Trump Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate sends Russia sanctions bill to Trump | Senators unveil email privacy bill | Russia tried to spy on Macron with Facebook Senate sends Russia sanctions bill to Trump's desk MORE (Ky.) also led the push in the Senate for "full repeal," mirroring a 2015 bill that would draw pushback from some of their GOP colleagues. 
 
Meanwhile, a coalition of moderate senators repeatedly raised concerns about what would happen to their states' Medicaid expansion under the House bill. 
 
"The Medicaid expansion is also tricky because some states expanded and some didn't," McConnell said on Thursday. "It's a very challenging subject and so far regretfully we've not been able to figure our way forward."