Health bill vote delayed in House in setback to Trump, Ryan
- Author: Larry Hoffman Mar 29, 2017,
Mar 29, 2017, 8:23
At the White House, President Trump met with more than 30 members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, most of whom have voiced their opposition to the bill in its current form and could sink it.
"They don't know how to get to yes".
"Let's vote", White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said as he left the meeting. The GOP needs 216 votes for a simple majority to pass the bill in the House.
"So here's the encouraging news from today: clearly we don't have the votes yet, but clearly no one is walking away from the table". It's also possible that the GOP health care bill dies before it gets to a vote, and that the party goes back to the drawing board, or moves on to other legislative priorities. The CBO, however, projects 24 million people could lose their health insurance under the Republican health care plan, most of that from the proposed Medicaid rollbacks. So the one-time $15 billion infusion Republicans are making wouldn't last much further than the next election, and certainly won't cover all the people that are in danger of overdosing in their own districts.
Showdown day at hand, Republicans remained short of votes Thursday for their showcase health care overhaul, hoping for President Donald Trump to close the deal with balky conservatives at a White House meeting.
Aligned with the Tea Party movement the Freedom Caucus was founded in 2015 by Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) and several other Republicans, including Trump's Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, to "support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity". As late as Wednesday, Republican leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue signaled they were confident the bill would pass on Thursday, when a final vote was first scheduled. A vote was slated for Thursday night but that now will not happen. "That is why this didn't pass", Ryan said. "Circular firing squads only hurt ourselves, and I feel like that's what we've been doing".
Bacon said lawmakers were elected to get the job done. "But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans".
As Bacon emerged from the meeting, he said it included great speeches calling for unity. But the bill lost support rather than gained it as the day wore on.
"I've changed my vote, from "yes" to 'hell, yes, ' " Bacon said.
Paul Ryan and Donald Trump can not be trusted. It's time to vote.
A walk-out thus would signal that they strongly disapprove of the bill as now constituted and that they will oppose it when it comes back from the Senate unless it has been substantially improved. He described the legislation as imperfect but at least an attempt to shore up insurance markets.
It would provide tax credits to help people pay medical bills, though generally skimpier than Obama's statute provides. But the White House appeared ready to gamble that the prospect of failing to repeal former president Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act health law, after seven years of promising to do exactly that, would force members into the Yes column.
A senior Republican official said the vote would be delayed.
Brooks, who attended a meeting at the White House on Thursday, complained the GOP measure, which he referred to as ObamaCare 2.0, does not repeal the Affordable Care Act, but instead retains numerous provisions.
House leaders had originally planned to hold a Thursday evening vote on the legislation, but pushed it to Friday as they reportedly sought to shore up the votes for passage.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., couldn't resist a dig.
Many moderates are opposed because they say the GOP bill would leave many voters uninsured.