Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Tuesday it's time for Republicans to temporarily forego their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and turn their attention to tax reform.
"I think we need to move on, probably pretty quickly," Johnson told reporters at the Capitol. "We've been at this. It did not, unfortunately, end in success ... Now we've got to move on to tax reform so we have a competitive tax system."
The Wisconsin Republican made the remarks after three Republicans — Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkoski, R-Alaska — announced they will not vote for a motion to proceed on a clean bill to replace the ACA.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced his plan for a vote on a clean repeal bill after Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., announced their opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Johnson said Republicans likely should have focused on tax reform from the outset instead of repealing and replacing the ACA.
"This was the toughest step to crack, and in hindsight, I think we — again, we started with regulatory reform. That's a good thing," Johnson said. "The next step probably should have been tax reform."
"We're going to have to fix this mess," Johnson said referring to the healthcare situation. "It isn't over. It's just unfortunate state of affairs right now."