U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, says the health care plan he has drafted with several other Republican senators stands a “very good chance” of passing.

The plan would take money now being spent on the Affordable Care Act and turn it over to the states in the form of block grants to use in health care programs they design and operate, Johnson said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Johnson said he and his co-sponsors are getting closer to the number of votes they need to pass the bill.

“It’s just gaining support, because it makes so much sense,” he said.

Johnson said he and his co-sponsors are operating under a deadline of Sept. 30 for the bill to pass in this budget reconciliation period.

On other issues, Johnson said lawmakers and the president need to come up with a “humane” course of action for the young immigrants now covered by the DACA program — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The “dreamers,” as they are sometimes called, were brought to the United States illegally as children by their parents.

“I’m not so sure we have to offer citizenship, but some kind of legal status,” Johnson said, adding that funding for greater security at the U.S. border must be part of the plan.

“We will treat those individuals with humanity, but we have to secure our border for a host of reasons,” he said.

Johnson also discussed Republican goals for national tax reform, and said he will be looking for several things in a tax reform bill.

“Is it going to be pro-growth? Is it going to put us in a better position today than we were yesterday?” he said.

Also on the program, state Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, said Democrats have both challenges and opportunities ahead in 2018.

Hintz recently announced he will run for Assembly minority leader. Current Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, is stepping aside at the end of the month after dissension in the caucus. Hintz is the only lawmaker so far to say he will run for the position.

“I think right now is about coming together around the values of opportunity, fairness and community, and making sure we’re in the best position to hopefully take advantage of what could be a favorable 2018 cycle, at a time when the Republican Party popularity is at an all-time low,” Hintz said.

Hintz said new, young lawmakers in the caucus are ready to step up and work.

“I don’t think we know what kind of year 2018 is going to be, but I know I’ve got a caucus that is committed to doing everything to put us in a position to succeed,” he said.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the non-partisan newsletter produced by the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said Wisconsin’s 2018 U.S. Senate race is currently rated as “Lean Democrat.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, is up for re-election in 2018.

“I think you always have to give an incumbent senator sort of the benefit of the doubt, and that’s particularly true when the incumbent senator is from the party that doesn’t hold the White House,” he said.

Kondik said national Republicans are “prioritizing” the Wisconsin race.

“They think that Baldwin is potentially vulnerable. And I think they are hoping they get a good candidate in this race, and I think they are prepared to spend a considerable amount of money on the Wisconsin Senate race next year,” Kondik said.

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