GOP Sen. Patrick Toomey on repealing Obamacare: 'It absolutely has to get done in the first year'

Story highlights

  • "It absolutely has to get done in the first year," Toomey said.
  • "And with a President Trump in the White House, he'll sign a bill repealing it," he added.

(CNN)Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said Thursday that Obamacare has to be repealed in Donald Trump's first year in the White House.

"It absolutely has to get done in the first year," Toomey said on the "Dom Giordano Program" on 1210 WPHT Philadelphia radio. "I think it has to get done in the first half of the first year, but I just want to be clear, it's not going to happen on the very first day. We wouldn't have the votes to do it because we wouldn't have Democratic support. But we'll get it done. We promised that to the American people. It's the right thing to do. And with a President Trump in the White House, he'll sign a bill repealing it."
    Republicans have voted dozens of times to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care law since its passage in 2010. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have both said that repealing the Affordable Care Act will be a leading priority for Republicans, who will control both the legislative and executive branches starting in 2017.
    In Thursday's interview, Toomey described how he thinks lawmakers will go about dismantling elements of the law through a budget process called "reconciliation."
    "Now I will say that I don't expect — now I could be pleasantly surprised, Dom — but I don't expect the Democrats to support that effort given their history with Obamacare," said Toomey, who defeated Democratic challenger Katie McGinty to retain his Senate seat Tuesday. "And if that's the case, then they won't provide the votes we would need to get to 60 votes and so we would need to use the device that's available to us through budget process to pass that repeal legislation with a simple majority. And we can do that. But it does require an extra step and it requires passing a budget resolution, which we usually do in you know, the first part of the year, April, May. And then follow-up with the subsequent that would repeal Obamacare."