Health Care

White House: We’re working to change ObamaCare bill

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The White House on Tuesday said it is working with House leadership on changes to the ObamaCare repeal bill in the form of a “manager’s amendment,” which could alter the bill before it hits the House floor.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during the daily press briefing that the Trump administration is working with House GOP leaders ahead of a potential floor vote.

“As we have noted multiple times from the podium, when people have ideas that are constructive or supportive, or ones we’ve heard about from different members we’ve engaged with … we’ve always stated a willingness,” he said. 

“All of that is part of a comprehensive strategy to engage with members who support us, who have ideas, who want to be on board, who wanted to be constructive in the process.”

{mosads}Spicer added that the White House is “in talks with House leadership about the content,” noting that President Trump will speak with both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) later Tuesday afternoon to talk “about some of these ideas and a path forward.”

A manager’s amendment is typically used after the traditional committee process to make changes to a bill to gain more support before a floor vote.

Speculation that one would be used has increased as Republicans air their opposition to the bill as it is. More conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus don’t believe the legislation goes far enough to repeal ObamaCare. 

Spicer pitched the amendment as a way to help forge a greater consensus on the legislation. But asked whether its existence is an admission the bill can’t pass as is, Sean demurred, arguing that it’s about forging a consensus. 

“That’s not entirely true. I think it’s an admission of what we stated at the beginning of this entire process, which was the president was going to engage with members to hear their ideas,” Spicer said. 

“This has never been a ‘take it or leave it.’ … We want to get the strongest bill through the House with as many ideas and opinions and facts that will help strengthen this as possible.”

Some Republicans also fear that moving to meet some concerns of the more conservative members could cost support from more moderate lawmakers in both the House and the Senate. 

Ryan spokesman Doug Andres said it was “too early to discuss” any manager’s amendment.

– Scott Wong contributed.

– Updated at 3:17 p.m.

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