LISTEN LIVE: Spicer expected to address Senate health care plan
White House press secretary Sean Spicer is expected to address the Senate's health care plan in his Friday news briefing.
The White House decided after Spicer was scheduled to begin speaking that audio streaming would be embargoed until after the briefing concluded. PBS NewsHour will post the audio once it is available.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released the bill Thursday after weeks of closed-door meetings searching for middle ground between conservative senators seeking an aggressive repeal of Obama's statute and centrists warning about going too far.
McConnell, cheered in by the White House, is now focusing on finding the votes he'll need to push the Republican plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law through the Senate.
"No one knows the Senate better that Senator McConnell," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Friday on Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom." He said along with support from President Donald Trump, "I think we're going to get this thing done, put it in conference and hopefully by the August recess really have Obamacare repealed and replaced."
McConnell wants to push the package through the Senate next week, and will succeed if he can limit defections to two of the chamber's 52 Republicans. Erasing Obama's law has been a marquee pledge for Trump and virtually the entire party for years, and failure would be a shattering defeat for the GOP.
Democrats were hoping to scare off as many Republican votes as possible by planning efforts around the country to criticize the measure. They say the GOP plan would mean fewer people with coverage and higher costs for many.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was urging Democrats to post stories on social media on constituents whose health care coverage would be threatened.
"No argument against Trumpcare is more eloquent than the grave consequences it means in people's lives," she wrote colleagues.
The bill would cut and redesign the Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people, and erase taxes on higher earners and the medical industry that helped pay for the roughly 20 million Americans covered by Obama's law. It would let insurers provide fewer benefits, offer less generous subsidies than Obama to help people buy policies and end the statute's tax penalties on people who don't buy policies and on larger firms that don't offer coverage to workers.
PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.