Health Care

GOP lawmakers say ObamaCare repeal vote may be delayed

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The House may delay its vote on the GOP’s ObamaCare replacement plan until Friday or next week, several lawmakers said.

“It didn’t look like today was going to be when we’re going to vote,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) after leaving a meeting with committee chairs and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who controls the House floor schedule. 

Roe said a vote may come Friday. 

{mosads}The vote on the healthcare bill was originally planned for Thursday, the seven-year anniversary of the day ObamaCare was signed into law.

As of Thursday afternoon, GOP leaders had not made a final decision about whether to delay the vote until Friday or next week.

They were still assessing negotiations that took place Thursday between President Trump and the far-right House Freedom Caucus at the White House. After the meeting, members of the caucus said they had not reached a deal with President Trump to win their support.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had scheduled a press conference for 3:30 p.m., but it has been postponed. 
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) expressed doubt that a vote would happen on Thursday.
“I don’t think we’ll vote today. Just because we planned, like, what, five hours of debate. That puts it pretty late into the night,” Walden said after leaving the Speaker’s suite mid-afternoon Thursday.
Walden suggested the House could begin debate on Thursday and hold the vote Friday, but cautioned that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) office would make the final decision.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he still expects the bill to come up for a vote Thursday.

“That would obviously be up to Speaker Ryan and Leader McCarthy, but nothing leads me to believe that’s the case,” Spicer said when asked if the vote would be pushed back.

Spicer also said the whip count of votes in favor of the bill is improving.

“We continue to see the number go up, not down, and that’s a very positive sign.”

Yet several House GOP lawmakers and a GOP chief of staff predicted a vote would be postponed past Thursday night.

“If I were a betting man, I’d say there won’t be a vote today,” one GOP lawmaker told The Hill.

“At this point, it would have to be [delayed],” said a chief of staff to a top House Republican. “They won’t want to vote in the middle of the night.”

GOP leaders, however, also were feeling enormous pressure from some rank-and-file members to press on with the vote Thursday. They warned delaying any further could kill the bill outright.

“At some point you gotta say there’s nothing in this world that’s gonna change [the Freedom Caucus’s] minds. I think the window for making a decision is rapidly closing. We need to either vote or go home,” an exasperated Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) told reporters.

“I think the chances for getting the bill done after this week get smaller. They don’t go to zero. No such thing as never or impossible,” Byrne added. “But the chances of passing this bill get a lot lower after this week.”

Asked if there is a Plan B on the healthcare bill, Spicer replied: “It’s gonna pass. So that’s it.”

Scott Wong, Jonathan Easley, Jordan Fabian and Cristina Marcos contributed.

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