(Bloomberg) — Leaders from the influential Koch political network expressed concern about the Senate Republican plan to reshape the nation’s health system, saying as they met with donors at a Colorado resort that the measure isn’t sufficiently conservative.
“We’ve been disappointed that movement has not been more dramatic toward a full repeal or a broader rollback of this law, Obamacare,” Tim Phillips, the president of the Koch-affiliated political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, told reporters.
“We worked to make the House bill better and it did get better,” he said. “We’re doing the same thing on the Senate front.”
Unveiled on Thursday as a discussion draft after weeks of work done in secret by a small number of lawmakers, the Senate plan was immediately criticized by Democrats and some Republicans. Five Senate Republicans have said they oppose the bill in its current form.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only afford two defections from his party to pass the bill in the 100-member chamber.
Opposition from the Koch network, which has delivered tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes in recent years, promises to further complicate the perilous path McConnell faces.
‘Can Get Done’
“We still think this can get done,” Phillips said. “It has to get better.”
Phillips spoke on the first day of a three-day donor retreat at a luxury Rocky Mountains resort in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was also among those who met Friday evening with Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the event.
“It was a good, cordial discussion of issues, including health care,” Phillips said of his talk with Pence.
Pence also huddled privately on Friday with billionaire Charles Koch. The vice president, who has long ties to the Koch brothers, had been at the resort for a fund-raiser for Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who will also speak at the Koch event.
Phillips praised President Donald Trump for his judicial appointments and said his five-month-old administration deserved an “A-plus” for efforts to reduce regulations. “There is a lot of respect from us for what they’ve done,” he said.
On Sunday, the group will hear from Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who’s gained national prominence in the past year as a Trump critic. Other Republican senators scheduled to appear include Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and John Cornyn of Texas.
Policy and Campaigns
Four Republican governors are also on the schedule: Greg Abbott of Texas, Matt Bevin of Kentucky, Eric Greitens of Missouri and Doug Ducey of Arizona.