The House Rules Committee on Friday signed off on the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal plan after days of uncertainty, setting up a showdown vote later in the day.
The panel was the bill’s final stop before heading for a floor vote Friday, where it's not clear it has the support from Republicans to pass — the GOP can only afford 22 defections.
The Rules Committee voted along party lines to allow for four hours of floor debate on the legislation but to permit no amendments.
Late into the night Wednesday and through Thursday evening, GOP leadership and the White House were negotiating with conservative members who have withheld their support from the bill. The plan is also facing significant pushback from centrist Republicans.
But on Thursday night, the Trump administration took a message to the GOP conference: Take it or leave it.
Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said President Trump expects a vote on the bill Friday. If it fails, he said, the administration will move on from healthcare reform, leaving ObamaCare in place.
The American Health Care Act has the full-throated support of both Trump and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE (R-Wis.), but barring a significant development in negotiations, it looks unlikely to reach the Senate, where it would face another tough road with a much slimmer GOP majority.
In the House, the Freedom Caucus, which wants a full repeal of ObamaCare’s insurer mandates and regulations, has led conservative opposition.
An amendment drafted by leadership would eliminate ObamaCare's essential health benefits for the 2018 plan year and let states set their own standards, but leave in place other insurer mandates. It's unclear if that's enough for conservatives to support the bill on the floor.
Defeat would be a huge embarrassment for Trump and Ryan, both of whom campaigned hard on eliminating ObamaCare.
At least 33 House Republicans have publicly said they'll vote against the AHCA in its current form. No Democrats have announced plans to support it.