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Where do you stand, senator?

So what does a key congressional Republican healthcare leader think about plans by Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell to drop for the rest of this Congress any more votes to repeal the 2010 federal healthcare overhaul?

You decide.Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees most of federal healthcare policy. When I caught up to him briefly in the Senate today, Hatch confirmed reports that McConnell told fellow Republican senators in a recent closed-door meeting about plans to drop the repeal push for the rest of the year.

McConnell's decision was not popular with some conservative senators, and all of the Republican Party's presidential candidates have stridently urged the law's repeal. So I wondered where Hatch came down on the Kentucky senator's decision.

Me: What do you think about his decision not to push for more repeal votes?

Hatch: I think he's probably right on that. We've got to see what happens with the court. There are a lot of other—I don't know that we can say 'none' for the rest of the year, but there are a lot of things that have to happen. The court is probably not going to rule until the end of June, so it's pretty hard to do much after that.

Me: So it is even less likely after that?

Hatch: Yeah. So I think he's just being practical.

Clear?

I wasn't and the senator had to hurry on so I followed up with his office to see if Hatch has an official position on the matter. But there was no response by the deadline for this blog.

Follow Rich Daly on Twitter @MHRDaly.
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