Senate conservatives heading to White House to talk ObamaCare repeal
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A group of key Senate Republicans are going to the White House this week as the administration courts conservatives on the ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill.
 
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said that he and other members of the conservative Senate Republican Steering Committee will make the trip down to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Tuesday. 
 
"Basically what's called the Steering Committee in the Senate ... that group will come out to the White House on Tuesday," he told local radio station KFAQ Monday.
  
He added that he expected the GOP group would give "practical examples" for how to make the legislation better. 
 
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"We'll walk through what we currently have, some proposals that we have for amendments and changes to be able to strengthen this thing, to be able to make it something that's actually viable," he said. 
 
The committee doesn't list its membership publicly, but Lankford noted that other members, including Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senators call for probe of federal grants on climate change Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Key ObamaCare groups in limbo | Opioids sending thousands of kids into foster care | House passes bill allowing Medicaid to pay for opioid treatments US watchdog: 'We failed' to stem Afghan opium production MORE (Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate left in limbo by Trump tweets, House delays The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington Senate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration MORE (Texas), who have both expressed strong reservations about the GOP plan, would attend the meeting. 
 
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Spokesmen for Lankford and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos Senate blocks bid to stop Obama water rule GOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border MORE (R-Utah), who heads up the Steering Committee, confirmed the timing and purpose of the White House visit. 
 
It's unclear with whom specifically the senators will meet, though a White House spokesman confirmed the meeting would include legislative affairs staff. 
 
The meeting comes as Republicans are in the middle of open warfare over how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 
 
House GOP leadership is pushing legislation, known as the American Health Care Act, that would dismantle core provisions of ObamaCare including the Medicaid expansion and put in place a new tex credit — which would be smaller on average than ObamaCare's — to help people buy insurance.
 
That legislation is facing fierce pushback from House conservatives as well as both conservative and moderate senators, raising questions about if it would have the votes to pass. 
 
But House leadership and the White House are remaining bullish that they will ultimately have the votes to get the proposal through Congress. 

"We're going to continue to work with members of the House and eventually the Senate," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday. "I feel very good as the president continues to engage with members that we will have the votes necessary."  

Paul and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are pushing an alternative repeal bill mirroring a 2015 bill that passed Congress but was vetoed by President Obama. 
 
That legislation could draw pushback from moderate GOP senators because it would separate ObamaCare repeal and replacement into two bills. 
 
Moderates have signaled that they want to move repeal and replace together or, at a minimum, have the details of replacement locked down before voting to repeal. 
 
The White House is also in the middle of an all-out charm offensive to quell conservative backlash. 
 
In addition to meeting with the conservative Steering Committee, members of the House Freedom Caucus have been invited to talk policy on Tuesday over pizza and bowling.