Friday, 22 September, 2017

Conservatives back revised health bill, GOP moderates balk

Conservatives back revised health bill, GOP moderates balk Conservatives back revised health bill, GOP moderates balk
Ron Matthews | 29 April, 2017, 17:32

"We have to do a health care bill, we have to fix the broken health care system", Donovan said.

Republicans were forced last month to scrap their bill repealing the Obama health care law because of opposition within the party.

According to a senior GOP aide, leaders were already promising Wednesday morning that once the health care bill as passed, members of Congress would vote separately to ensure that members wouldn't be exempted from the new rules, but it's a rocky start for an amendment that was meant to get Republicans back on track to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Moderates remain elusive, and several centrist lawmakers said they could not say whether they could support the bill.

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday night posted the text of a one-page bill that rescinds the exemption for lawmakers, Politico reported.

House Freedom Caucus members, who took the brunt of the heat for Republicans' failure to pass the AHCA on their first try, opted to announce their official support for the measure Wednesday - an endorsement that requires at least 80 percent of the caucus' approval.

"Over the past couple of months, House conservatives have worked tirelessly to improve the American Health Care Act to make it better for the American people", the statement read.

On Wednesday, senators were briefed at the White House by top national security advisers on the situation in North Korea, but several said they left the meeting without hearing any solid details on how the US will deal with the country as it remains intent on building a nuclear arsenal.

Earlier Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the changes were helping the legislation gain support, but he stopped short of saying the plan has the votes the GOP would need to finally push the high-profile measure through the House.

The Senate stands ready to approve a one-week spending measure, but only once the broader spending agreement is complete. But underscoring lingering battles over environmental and financial regulations, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., blocked the Senate late Thursday from approving the short-term measure.

But Democratic leader Chuck Schumer objected.

If Republicans do indeed have the votes this time, the new AHCA could go before the House for a vote as early as next week. But Ryan told reporters that "we're not doing that". Relations between the White House and Congress have vacillated between close coordination one moment and leaving the other in the dark the next. With the vast majority of the Freedom Caucus publicly getting to yes, no member wants to become President Donald Trump's new punching bag. The payments, known as cost-sharing reductions, are paid to health insurance companies to help reduce the out-of-pocket costs for certain low-income people.

Ryan on Thursday also blamed Democrats for "dragging their feet" on negotiations in apparent preparation to blame Democrats if their deal falls through. But at least the government probably won't be shut down - for at least another week. "The reason this government funding bill is not ready is because Democrats have been dragging their feet". "Every Republican from Trump on down promised to make it happen and it didn't happen". It is unclear whether he can bring enough members of the group along with him to put give the bill the majority it needs in the House.

GOP Rep. Charlie Dent, a leader of the group, remains opposed to the legislation. And unfortunately the president stood in the way for quite a long time. "That's why we're a little delayed".

These new provisions have been key sticking points for the conservative members of Congress who originally prevented the plan from making it to a vote. The deadline to have a spending bill to avoid a shutdown is midnight Friday.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer reiterated on Tuesday the administration's desire to repeal and replace Obamacare "as soon as possible" with an insurance system that would protect people's insurance without skyrocketing costs.

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