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Trump: If GOP health care bill fails, repeal Obamacare now, replace later

(CNN)-- President Donald Trump on Friday called for repealing the Affordable Care Act immediately and replacing it later with another health care plan if Republican senators are unable to pass their bill.

If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date," tweeted Trump.

Trump's declaration -- which marks a political shift for him and could further imperil delicate negotiations on Capitol Hill -- came shortly after Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, urged the President in a letter to repeal Obamacare now and replace later. The current Republican plan in Congress is to do both in one massive piece of legislation, though the Senate's bill has struggled to gain necessary GOP support.

"On July 10, if we don't have agreement on a combined repeal and replace plan, we should immediately vote again on H.R. 3762, the December 2015 ObamaCare repeal legislation that the Congress passed but President Obama vetoed," Sasse wrote in the letter. "We should include a year-long implementation delay to give comfort to Americans currently on ObamaCare that a replacement plan will be enacted before expiration."

A Senate aide told CNN that Sasse's team and the White House had been privately discussing getting the President to publicly support a straight repeal bill. Once the two sides became confident that Trump was interested, they drafted Sasse's letter and arranged for him to appear on Fox News Friday morning to call for such a plan.

Sasse quickly approved of Trump's tweet.

"Sounds great, Pres. @realDonaldTrump We are agreed. We need to break the logjam," he tweeted.
Trump's message Friday morning also marked a notable return to his efforts to push his agenda rather than distract from it, as he did on Thursday when he viciously and personally attacked MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski.
Trump was criticized heavily on both sides of the aisle for the outburst, with Sasse saying the tweets were "beneath the dignity" of his office.