Politics Top GOP senator: Republicans 'shot their wad' on healthcare

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"We’re in tax now. As far as I’m concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that’s the way it is. I’m sick of it," said Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Sen. Orrin Hatch. play

Sen. Orrin Hatch.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Sen. Orrin Hatch is ready to move on from the Republican healthcare debacle.

The Utah senator and chair of the Senate Finance Committee told Politico in a story published Monday that the GOP botched its chance at any repeal and replace of Obamacare for now.

And he had a colorful way of saying it is time to move on to tax reform.

"We’re not going back to health care," Hatch told Politico. "We’re in tax now. As far as I’m concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that’s the way it is. I’m sick of it."

Hatch's sentiments have been echoed by other Republicans, who are now turning attention to tax reform and must-pass legislation like the budget and an increase in the nation's debt ceiling.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said it is time for Republicans to "move on" from healthcare and focus on other issues.

Hatch's remark that Republicans "shot their wad" on healthcare drew the attention of social-media users, leading to a clarification Hatch's office. His office said Hatch was referring to Civil War era nomenclature.

"As few of you were alive during the Civil War, here's a valuable jargon lesson on 'wads' and the shooting of them," Hatch's office tweeted, along with a screenshot of the dictionary definition.

Matt Whitlock, Hatch's communications director, joked that the quote was in reference to the Civil War because that's when Hatch, 83, entered the Senate. He also tweeted a link to a Washington Post article entitled "Respectable uses for 'shooting your wad.'"

Hatch's comments reveal a growing sentiment among higher-ranking members of the GOP caucus: that the divisons that plagued the debate over the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) will likely not be solved anytime soon.

Instead of toiling over differences, Republicans want to instead focus on tax reform, where there is broader agreement within the party.

But the strategy of moving on has been complicated by the fact that President Donald Trump and many in the administration are continuing to pressure Republican lawmakers to complete some sort of Obamacare repeal, to the chagrin of some GOP leaders.