The four Republican Senators considered most likely to reject renewed GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare are also those who vote with President Donald Trump the least -- though they still vote with him a lot.
According to FiveThirtyEight's Congressional tracker, Rand Paul of Kentucky has voted in line with Trump's position 87.2% of the time, compared with 85.4% for Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, 83.0% for John McCain of Arizona and 79.6% for Susan Collins of Maine. Many Republican Senators, including Thom Tillis of North Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas and Thad Cochran of Mississippi, vote in line with the president's position almost 96% of the time.
Republican lawmakers are making one final push to scrap the Affordable Care Act before the end of the month, when their ability to do so along a party-line vote expires. Senators Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are sponsors of a bill that would scale back the federal government's role in healthcare and instead provide block grants to states.
Graham said Trump called him on Monday night to express his support for his effort. A Trump administration official told CNN on Tuesday that the president would sign the Graham-Cassidy bill if the legislation makes it to his desk.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that he was calling for the GOP to support the bill, telling the press pool, "this is the moment. Now is the time." Marc Short, Trump's legislative liaison, has reportedly been spotted walking the Senate halls.
To be sure, even Collins' record shows Republicans line up with the president's position much more often than they don't and significantly more than any Senate Democrat. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the Democrat who most votes with Trump at 55.1%, followed by Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) at 51.0% and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) at 47.9%. For context, the two Democrats who have voted most against Trump's position -- Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have voted with him about 10% of the time.
Murkowski, McCain and Collins were the three Senators whose "no" votes ultimately led to the demise of the GOP's "skinny repeal" effort in July. None has yet to make a final decision on this bill, though Collins is considered a likely no, while Murkowski and McCain appear more on the fence. McCain has expressed concerns about the process behind legislative efforts, but his close relationship with Graham has been cause for concern among progressives afraid of a repeal effort. Graham on Tuesday said that McCain would speak for himself but that he's feeling good about his vote.
Paul, who voted for the skinny bill, has been vocal in his opposition to Graham-Cassidy and panned it as "Obamacare lite." He has been a vocal critic of the legislation on Twitter as well.
Graham/Cassidy keeps Obamacare and tells the states to run it. No thanks.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 18, 2017
Keeping 90% of Obamacare is not ok and it's not what we ran on. Conservatives should say no.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 18, 2017
The Senate heads home after Tuesday for Rosh Hashana, meaning whatever happens with Graham-Cassidy will shake out next week. The Senate Finance Committee has a hearing scheduled on the bill next Monday, and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a similar hearing on Tuesday. The Congressional Budget Office's score on the bill is likely to be only partial, meaning Senators who vote for the bill will be doing so blindly.
To be sure, beyond the Senate, any healthcare legislation would also have to pass the House of Representatives. "Paul Ryan told me to my face: you pass it, we pass it," Graham told Bloomberg on Tuesday.
"Time is, um, short," wrote Cowen and Company analyst Chris Krueger in a note on Tuesday. "This is not a zero probability, but we see low odds of success."