Trump ‘so confident' Senate will pass ObamaCare repeal

A triumphant President Trump on Thursday celebrated the House’s passage of the Republican plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, saying he’s confident the measure will pass the Senate. 

Speaking in front of nearly 100 GOP lawmakers in the White House Rose Garden, Trump touted the plan as the act that will “finish off” the “catastrophe” of President Obama’s signature healthcare law. 

"Yes, premiums will be coming down. Yes, deductibles will be coming down. But very importantly, it’s a great plan and ultimately that’s what it’s all about," Trump said.

Trump hastily assembled a celebration at the White House to mark the House’s passage of the American Health Care Act, which would undo much of ObamaCare, a top campaign promise of the president and congressional Republicans. 

He pushed back his first trip to New York as president as well as a meeting with the prime minister of Australia in order to stage the hour-long victory lap in the Rose Garden. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"This has brought the Republican Party together,” Trump proclaimed. 

The bill’s passage represented a major victory for Trump and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAEI names Robert Doar as new president GOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Wis.), who cobbled together enough votes to pass the measure. The vote came just over a month after he was forced to pull the measure from the floor due to lack of support from conservatives, a humiliating defeat for both him and Trump. 

The bill must now go to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future, leading critics to compare the White House event to a football player spiking the ball at the 50-yard line. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s attorney general pick passes first test MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate leader, told reporters that there is “no timeline” to pass the bill, and a group of senators is reportedly considering writing its own legislation. 

Ryan drew laughs from his colleagues when he said "our friends in the Senate are eager to get to work" on the healthcare measure. 

Despite those hurdles still to come, Trump predicted he’ll be able to ultimately sign the bill into law. 

"I went through two years of campaigning and I'm telling you: No matter where I went, people are suffering so badly with the ravages of ObamaCare," he said. "We're going to get this passed through the Senate, I feel so confident."

Trump summed up his outlook when addressing prior criticism of Ryan: "It no longer matters because we won.”

The president has long been hungry for a major legislative victory after failing to secure one during his first 100 days in office. And on Thursday, he appeared ebullient at the outcome of the vote.

“How am I doing? Am I doing OK? Hey, I’m president. I’m president. Can you believe it, right?” Trump said.  

Trump said he didn’t want lawmakers to boast about an “unbelievable victory,” but in the same sentence let slip that, “We want to brag about the plan.”

A parade of speakers followed Trump, including Ryan and his top deputies, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), all of whom heaped praise on Trump and Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal When government is closed, American diplomacy pauses Trump signs law guaranteeing back pay for federal workers MORE for their hands-on approach in the healthcare push. 

“I have never, ever seen any kind of an engagement like this,” the Speaker said. 

Ryan also thanked White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, who bore much of the blame for the initial failure of the AHCA vote. 

“We could not have done this without you gentlemen, you guys are the best,” Ryan said of Priebus, as well as White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. 

- Updated at 4:43 p.m.