House Republicans are preparing for what is shaping up to be one of the most politically consequential moments for the GOP this year: A vote to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Leadership’s most urgent priority: Make sure they have the votes, changing the bill if necessary.
President Donald Trump will personally rally the troops Tuesday morning, attending a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill to make a final pitch to his colleagues.
Thursday, the House is expected to vote on a bill introduced by House Speaker Paul Ryan and other top Republicans to roll back and make major changes to President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law.
The whip count operation is now in “full motion,” a senior GOP aide told CNN Monday morning.
In the final days leading up to the vote, leaders are hashing out adjustments to the bill that they unveiled two weeks ago. These modifications are a crucial aspect of the whipping process — possible concessions are being carefully considered to try to win over lawmakers who are still on the fence.
One change that a senior GOP source said is likely to be included: language that would immediately prevent states from expanding Medicaid.
Under the first version of the legislation, enhanced funding for Medicaid would be repealed as of January 1, 2020. But senior Republicans are now preparing to include language that would explicitly prevent states from expanding the program before that time — a concession to conservative lawmakers.
Another change that’s being worked on: Expanding tax credits to older Americans. The details are still unclear, but it is an effort to calm worried GOP lawmakers who fear that the GOP health care bill would result in a spike of premiums for their constituents in their 50s and early 60s.
Last week, the White House also announced after President Donald Trump’s meeting with members of the conservative Republican Study Committee that they had agreed to include in the House legislation optional Medicaid work requirements as well as the choice for states to block grant the program.
These changes are expected to be included in a package of amendments to be considered before the House Rules Committee on Wednesday.
The White House is kicking off the workweek with another set of meetings on health care.
In the morning, the President is huddling at the White House with Ryan and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. In the afternoon, administration officials plan to meet with Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, Bill Cassidy, James Lankford, Rob Portman and Dean Heller.
The goal of that afternoon meeting is to “get everything on the table for a deal,” an administration official said, referring to a deal that could get both moderates and conservatives on board.
Over the weekend, Price acknowledged the challenge House GOP leaders are confronting in getting the majority of their conference behind the health care bill.
“It’s a fine needle that needs to be thread. There’s no doubt about it,” he said.