Facing the start of a conservative revolt over the GOP healthcare plan, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.) vowed Tuesday that the ObamaCare replacement bill would pass the House.
“We will have 218 votes,” Ryan told reporters at a Tuesday-evening news conference that capped an extraordinary day, which saw the GOP break into open warfare over the health proposal.
“We’ll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor, I can guarantee you that,” the speaker added.
It’s a bold prediction, considering that a number of powerful outside conservative groups, influential right-wing media personalities and well-known tea party lawmakers in the Capitol came out swinging against the GOP proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
Many conservatives panned the American Health Care Act as simply another variation of ObamaCare. They specifically took aim at the plan’s refundable tax credits, which they say amount to another government entitlement.
But Ryan, flanked by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), pushed back at his conservative critics.
The Speaker argued that House and Senate Republicans have no choice but to fulfill their campaign promise to repeal and replace President Obama’s health law.
“I’m prepared to lead our conference to do what we said we would do in the election,” Ryan said. “We ran on a repeal and replace plan. That’s what this is: the repeal and replace plan."
Both the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees are planning to begin marking up their respective pieces of the bill on Wednesday, and Ryan aims to bring a final version to the floor by the end of March.
When told that some estimates say 10 million people could lose health insurance under the GOP plan, Ryan talked up the benefits of the bill.
“Look, what matters is that we are lowering the cost of healthcare and giving people access to affordable healthcare plans,” Ryan replied.