Donald Trump has claimed several times over the past few days that Republicans have enough votes to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Congress is currently making use of a special legislative procedure called budget reconciliation, an optional process designed to force legislation through Congress in order to meet spending considerations outlined in the annual federal budget.
Such a bill would only need a simple majority—51 votes in the Senate—to pass, cannot be filibustered, and must be voted on by September 30.
Previous attempts at ACA repeal this year under the reconciliation process included the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017, which failed to pass in July.
The latest bill, Graham-Cassidy, also died in the water this week after three GOP senators confirmed that they would not vote in favor of it.
But Trump has been telling reporters a different story.
In an interview with Fox & Friends’ Paul Hegseth on Thursday morning, Trump said, “We do have the votes [to pass a reconciliation bill] … We have the votes to get it done but we can’t do it when one of them is in the hospital.”
The president claimed that without the missing key vote—from Senator Thad Cochran, who is currently at home recovering from a urological procedure—the party would not be able to meet the Friday reconciliation deadline, thus killing the chance for healthcare reform this year via reconciliation.
However, the dissenting senators—John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Rand Paul—leaves the GOP with only 49 senators supporting the bill, even with Cochran’s “yes” vote.
That means the bill is dead with or without Cochran, and Trump’s claim that Republicans “have the votes” is false.
“I’ll negotiate with the Democrats [on healthcare],” Trump told Hegseth Thursday morning when asked whether he would now seek a full repeal of Obamacare.
The president added that he enjoys a “a nice relationship” with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. “If we can do a great healthcare bill, bipartisan, I’m okay with that.”