House of Representatives cave to Trump demand for healthcare vote on Friday
U.S. President Donald Trump will get a second chance to try to close the deal with Republican lawmakers on dismantling Obamacare, but it was unclear whether the House of Representatives would be able to pass a new healthcare bill in a rescheduled vote on Friday.
The House on Thursday put off a vote on what was supposed to be Trump’s first legislative win because its conservative flank felt the bill did not go far enough to repeal Obama’s namesake healthcare legislation, and moderates felt it could hurt their constituents.
But White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told House Republicans at a Thursday night meeting that Trump is done negotiating and wants a vote on Friday, NBC said.
Lawmakers coming out of a Capitol Hill meeting with House leaders and top White House officials late on Thursday told reporters the vote would go ahead.
North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, the chairman of a group of conservatives known as the Freedom Caucus, which has been critical of the bill, said talks were not yet finished, and added there was not yet enough support to pass the bill.
“I’m still optimistic” about reaching an agreement,” Meadows told reporters.
The Republicans have a majority in the House but because of united Democratic opposition, can afford to lose only 21 Republican votes. As of Thursday morning, NBC News said that 30 Republicans had planned to vote “no” or were leaning that way.
The vote was seen by financial markets as a crucial test of Trump’s ability to work with Congress to deliver on other priorities like tax cuts and infrastructure spending.
Trump and Republicans had campaigned on a promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, passed in 2010. They see the law as too invasive and expensive.
Even if their replacement plan does eventually get approval from the House, the legislation faces a potentially tough fight in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The House and Senate had hoped to deliver a new healthcare bill to Trump by April 8, when Congress is scheduled to begin a two-week spring break.
Graphic on Obamacare and Republican healthcare bill (http://tmsnrt.rs/2n0ZMKf)
Graphic on shifting positions in the U.S. Senate on Republican healthcare bill (http://tmsnrt.rs/2mUE4Xf)
Graphic on poll on Americans’ views of the Republican healthcare bill ( http://tmsnrt.rs/2n7f3e4)
(Additional reporting by David Morgan, David Lawder, Amanda Becker, Eric Beech, Eric Walsh, Steve Holland, Jeff Mason, Caroline Humer, Megan Davies, Emily Stephenson, Jennifer Ablan, Noel Randewich, Lewis Krauskopf, and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Frances Kerry and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Michael Perry, Bill Trott and Bill Rigby)