President Trump says House health care bill was “mean”

Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

(Via ABC News)
President Donald Trump did not pressure Republican senators to rush a new draft of the health care bill at a Tuesday meeting, sources say, but instead lamented the saga that took place on the House side, and said the bill that passed in in the lower chamber was “mean” and the Senate bill should be more “generous.”

“He wasn’t prescribing deadlines, because I think he recognized what happened in the House wasn’t good, and he wants to make sure that we have a process that proceeds in an orderly way,” said Sen. John Thune, R-SD, who attended the meeting at the White House.

Thune acknowledged that Trump was “open to suggestions, and didn’t make any pronouncements one way or the other.”

“I think he was just sort of conveying that the thinks it’s really important that we get this done, and it’s OK that the Senate is going its own direction,” Thune said. “I think he was happy to hear that we’re making good progress, and is hopeful that we’ll be able to get this done soon because I think there is a sense of urgency.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) called the meeting “productive.”

Trump previously heaped praise on the bill after it was passed in a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden in May, saying it was “very, very incredibly well-crafted, and hailed it as “a great plan.”

Despite promises of progress made, most members could not answer basic questions about the status a draft or outline. Leaving a GOP team lunch Tuesday on the Hill, which Vice President Mike Pence attended, Sen Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said, “We’ve still got a ways to go…let’s put it this way, the total bill hasn’t been resolved.”

Democrats, meanwhile, are out in force accusing Republicans of hiding their working drafts. The same complaints were made in the House this spring. Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, N.Y., said plainly that press access issues seen today in parts of the U.S. Capitol were because the GOP is “ashamed” of its current health care bill. He blasted Republicans for not holding regular hearings and called the process “legislative malpractice.”

Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back on this idea and said they were all well-versed in the subject.

“It is not a new thing. We know a lot about the subject. We know how complicated it is,” he said when asked about whether there would be standard committee hearings. “Nobody is hiding the ball here. You are free to ask anybody, anything. There have a been a gizzillion hearings on this subject. We understand this issue pretty well and we are not working on coming up with a solution.”