President Trump's call on Tuesday for the public to elect more Republicans to Congress in order to get an Obamacare-replacement bill passed isn't likely to help the GOP incumbents at all. With Capito and Collins' objections, he can't afford another defection.
Still, it seems improbable that the White House lunch will change the calculus in the Senate, where McConnell has failed repeatedly to come up with a bill that can satisfy both conservatives and moderates in his party.
But Ryan hesitated to map out the way forward, because it remained unclear what repeal effort, if any, could pass the Senate.
Last month, McConnell hinted that he might resort to compromise if he couldn't muster the votes to approve a Republican-only measure.
Later, the president went further, describing a legislative tactic and political outcome that contradicts the views of many in the GOP.
Republican senators who voted in favor of the legislation just a year and a half ago - knowing it wouldn't become law at that point - are hesitant to make the same move under a Republican president.
Even with Tuesday's defections, McConnell said he plans to hold a vote "in the near future", a slightly different term than the one he used to describe the timing of the vote Monday night, when he promised a repeal vote "in the coming days". Let Obamacare fail. It'll be a lot easier.
"He wants to remain a senator, doesn't he?" the President asked of Heller, who was seated beside him.
The president tweeted Tuesday, "The Senate must go to a 51 vote majority instead of current 60 votes". "Even parts of full Repeal need 60". 8 Dems control Senate.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, who helped issue the fatal blow to a planned procedural vote on the replacement bill, said he's now in favor of adopting the 2015 plan and repealing ACA without an immediate replacement.
Republican leaders could schedule a vote to proceed as soon as this week, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. "That's the kind of bill they should have been talking about, but to get these people to come together after this has been out in the public, I think it's going to be hard".