House Dem expected to miss Thursday’s healthcare vote

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) is expected to miss Thursday’s House vote on the GOP healthcare plan, giving Republicans slightly more room for defections.

Rush’s wife, Carolyn, died last week from congestive heart failure. Her funeral services begin Friday, making it difficult for Rush to make it to Washington for the vote, where every attendance will count.

“It’s in discussion but given the state he’s in I don’t think it will happen,” Rush spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said in an email. “He stands solidly with the Dems in opposing this attack on health care.”

{mosads}Rush’s absence will mean GOP leaders can afford up to 22 defections, rather than what had originally expected to be a maximum of 21.

The five current House vacancies lower the overall number of votes needed to pass legislation to 216. With Rush absent, it will be 215 votes.

Not a single Democrat is expected to vote for the GOP healthcare plan, titled the American Health Care Act, to repeal and replace the 2010 law.

GOP leaders need every vote they can get. Conservatives in the roughly 35-member House Freedom Caucus remain largely opposed to the legislation because they don’t think it goes far enough in repealing the 2010 law. 

Centrists are also wary of getting on board due to concerns about rolling back the Medicaid expansion and cost estimates that show insurance prices going up for older people.

Other lawmakers who have missed House votes this week plan to be in Washington on Thursday for the critical vote.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) broke her foot and has missed votes over the past two days. But her office confirmed she plans to be at the Capitol on Thursday for the vote.

Democratic Reps. Donald Payne Jr. (N.J.), Niki Tsongas (Mass.) and Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) have also been absent from House votes throughout the week. 
A spokesman for Payne confirmed he will be present to vote on Thursday.
Slaughter, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, was absent from the panel’s Wednesday meeting to set up floor parameters for the vote on Thursday.
Slaughter spokesman Jeff Gohringer said she was out sick on Wednesday and wouldn’t say if she would be present on Thursday.
Tsongas’s office didn’t return a request for comment.
Updated 2:17 p.m. 

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