Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been talking up the idea of using the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as a way to score the Republican health care bill.
But he and other GOP lawmakers have yet to put forward an actual plan, despite a flurry of high-profile proposals that have been floated.
The CBO is the nonpartisan nonpartisan agency that assesses the effects of legislation and its impact on the economy and the country.
It has been tasked with producing a report on the Senate GOP health care plan, which has been under intense scrutiny over the past few days.
McConnell has also made clear that he doesn’t plan to provide the CBO with its report until after the legislation is passed by the Senate, and that he has no intention of doing so until he gets a final bill.
Instead, the Kentucky Republican is hoping that a CBO score could help him score the bill.
According to a memo obtained by The Hill, McConnell is seeking the CBO score as early as Wednesday, which is one week after it is due.
The Senate GOP leadership, including McConnell, are working to develop a final plan by the end of the month.
The Senate GOP bill would allow states to opt out of the individual mandate, the requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance.
States would be able to opt in to the law if they don’t want to participate.
Under the Senate Republican plan, the mandate would be eliminated entirely, leaving states to decide whether to let people opt out.
Under that proposal, states could opt out on a case-by-case basis, or they could opt in with a statewide health insurance exchange.
The Congressional Budget office, however, says the bill does not mandate the use of an exchange.
The Hill previously reported that McConnell and other Republicans are discussing the idea with some of their top lawmakers, including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady.
Cornyn told The Hill on Wednesday that there is no timeline set for when they will unveil their proposal.
The GOP plan is expected to include a mandate repeal, and he said the timing of that proposal is contingent on the CBO’s analysis.
Hatch said the Senate bill is still being developed.
He also noted that Republicans have made clear they will not provide a CBO report until they get a final draft of the bill that includes the mandate repeal.
“We are still working out how we’re going to get to a point where we can get that done,” Hatch said.
Brady told reporters Wednesday that Republicans are not in a rush to pass a final health care measure before the end the month, adding that there will be some changes to the bill if the CBO reports that it is a success.
He said that he expects the CBO to release a final report by the middle of the year.
“It is very important that the CBO do a thorough analysis,” Brady said.
“That is why it is critical for us to make sure we get a good bill to pass the Senate.”
Republicans have been looking for ways to avoid a government shutdown, which would be the most serious setback to their health care push.
They have said they will be willing to negotiate over the long term, but they have been unable to come to an agreement with Democrats over how to pay their bills.
The GOP is also looking for a way out of an impending $16 trillion debt ceiling, which they are not sure they can accomplish.
The House is expected this week to begin debating a bill to extend the federal debt ceiling through March 15, which Democrats say would be devastating for the economy.