While most GOP senators are likely to vote against the bill, lawmakers in both parties believe there will be at least 10 Republicans who would join all 50 Democrats and advance the bill to a final up-or-down vote.
One key Republican, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, told CNN Wednesday he “probably will” support the bill. And, importantly, Republican Whip John Thune said he expects the legislation will have similarly strong GOP support in the Senate as it got in the House.
“If and when (Democrats) bring a bill to the floor, we’ll take a hard look at it,” said Thune, a South Dakota Republican cautioner who had not made a decision on the bill. “As you saw there was pretty good bipartisan support in the House yesterday and I expect there’d probably be the same thing you’d see in the Senate.”
At this point, four Republicans, including Tillis, have signaled their support for the bill while several have said they will vote against it. A number of Republicans have not committed to how they will vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said he wants to bring the bill to the floor soon, but did not announce when he would schedule a vote. He added that he was “impressed by how much bipartisan support the bill got in the House.”
Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who is cosponsoring the bill, said holding a vote on this issue sends an “important message,” and that it’s “obvious” Republican views have changed over time.
“When you look at the House vote and you look at just the shifting sentiment about this issue,” he said. “I think this is an issue that many Americans, regardless of political affiliation, feel has been resolved.”
Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer said he spoke to Baldwin and that “she is talking to Republicans to see where the support is.”
Many Republicans have declined to state their positions on the legislation, saying they want to study the legislation first.
“I’m gonna take a look at what actually gets drafted, and we’ll look at it at that point, but haven’t got any comment until I see what it looks like,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah.
“I’m gonna delay announcing anything on that issue until we see what the majority leader wants to put on the floor,” echoed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, on Tuesday.
Other Republicans who would not commit their position included Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Sen. Todd Young of Indiana.
Other Republican senators canvassed by CNN, including Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, said they will vote against the House-passed bill.
Rubio dismissed the effort as a “stupid waste of time” as he walked onto an elevator where Baldwin was standing.
Goal GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is running for re-election in Alaska, said she would like to pass laws in the areas Thomas raised in his opinion to ensure abortion, the use of contraceptives, and same-sex marriage are legalized.
“I have suggested to others that not only would I like to see Roe, Casey, and Griswold on contraception codified but I’ve also made clear my support for, for gay marriage years ago,” she said. “So I will look at what the House is doing and see what that might mean here on the Senate side.”
CNN’s Jessica Dean, Ali Zaslav and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.