Spicer to GOP: You’ve had ‘free votes’ on ObamaCare repeal; now do it for real

Spicer to GOP: You’ve had ‘free votes’ on ObamaCare repeal; now do it for real

The White House on Thursday had tough words for Republican holdouts on the party's embattled healthcare bill, saying they weren’t living up to their promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

“You've taken a bunch of these free votes when it didn't matter because you didn't have a Republican president,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, referring to the 50-plus times lawmakers voted to repeal the law under President Obama.

"Well, this is a live ball now. This is for real, and we’re going to do what we pledged to the American people and keep our word.” 

The comments came after a meeting between Trump and members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus failed to yield a deal on the GOP healthcare plan, which is short of the 216 votes it needs to pass. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Trump has focused on winning over Freedom Caucus members by eliminating the minimum benefits insurers must include in their plans, something conservatives believe could lower premium prices. But the changes were not enough, caucus members said. 

Without the support of the Freedom Caucus, it will be very difficult for GOP leaders to cobble together a majority to pass the bill, which is slated to be voted on Thursday night. But changes to assuage the conservative group could alienate moderates in the House and cost leaders more votes.

Spicer insisted he wasn’t placing blame on anyone and repeatedly expressed confidence the bill would pass. 

“Right now, we’re not focused on blaming," he said. "We’re focused on getting it done and winning.”

Trump plans to meet with members of the moderate Tuesday Group later at the White House as the president and GOP leaders in Congress scramble to salvage the plan.

Lisa Hagen and Jonathan Easley contributed.