U.S. Senate Republicans change procedures to speed up Trump confirmations

How Trump has guaranteed healthcare will be a major election issue

And with that, a triumphant Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to close the book Tuesday on a divisive Republican debate, convincing President Donald Trump to shelve plans to replace the Affordable Care Act until after the 2020 election.

"What Leader McConnell, President Trump and Republicans in the Senate are trying to do is use the courts to adopt a far-right agenda that Republicans know they can not enact through the legislative process", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said shortly before the rules change.

Trump touched on the problem in remarks made Tuesday night, when he told the National Republican Congressional Committee that Democrats "have health care right now ..."

That's why, he continued, Trump has decided the only way to get healthcare reform accomplished would be to "win the election, take the House back, and then we'll go to work on lowering costs for the American people and give them more access".

He said a Republican plan would mean most Americans pay lower premiums and deductibles for their healthcare than they now pay under Obamacare, revisiting a promise he made during the 2016 campaign.

During Obama's presidency, Senate Democrats took steps to more easily win approval of his nominations by requiring only a simple-majority vote for administration posts and judges other than Supreme Court nominees.

Trump later showed up a Senate Republican luncheon where he declared that they should be the "party of healthcare" and asked for assistance in writing a new bill.

President Donald Trump's Senate GOP allies, frustrated by delays in confirming dozens of lower-profile nominees, are forcing through a rules change to cut back debate on most of his picks. "It will be on full display during the Election as a much better & less expensive alternative to ObamaCare", Trump tweeted.

On health care, Trump plunged into the fight again last week, prompted by a court deadline.

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Democrats also say that GOP complaints over their tactics now ring hollow after the obstructionism Obama experienced over his two terms.

Realizing that Democrats won control of the House by making healthcare their No 1 issue, other Republicans - especially those up for re-election in 2020 - also backed off.

Republicans who obstructed Garland's nomination are now claiming this new change is necessary because of "historic obstruction" by Democrats against Trump's judicial nominees. They had no comprehensive proposal to replace the ACA law and no big plans to unveil one.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he would wait to see what the White House produced in consultation with leaders of the Democratic-controlled House.

He was still doing his same old schtick last week, pledging that Republicans would soon be producing a new health care plan to succeed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"I think that's the sweet spot that we might be able to find Democrats and Republicans to come together", he said at the same AXIOS event. "We have to take that away from them".

In the absence of legislative action, the administration plans to tweak the health care system within the power of the executive branch, Sanders said. Representative Kevin Brady said that if the Supreme Court did strike down Obamacare, Republicans would act to protect some provisions, including coverage guarantees for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-SD) is a little more skeptical of their chances.

"He started this whole thing that we've been wrestling with since 2003, cooked it up, convinced his colleagues to do it", McConnell said.

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