Live coverage: Trump, GOP take victory lap after ObamaCare repeal vote
The Hill is providing live updates on the House GOP’s efforts to pass a bill repealing and replacing ObamaCare on Thursday.
A vote on the American Health Care Act is expected later Thursday, and Republican leaders are making a full-court press to get enough support to pass the bill.
Trump, GOP leaders take victory lap
President Trump celebrated the House’s passage of the GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare on Thursday, 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.
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.
“This has brought the Republican Party together,” Trump declared.
The bill’s passage represented a major victory for Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who cobbled together enough votes to pass the measure.
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.
Priebus: Trump ‘stepped up’ to get plan passed
“We’re lucky to have President Trump in charge,” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told The Hill as the House narrowly passed the bill.
Priebus and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price were in the House for the vote, watching from the Republican Cloakroom just off the floor.
“I feel great. It’s a great first step,” Priebus continued. “The president stepped up and helped punch the ball into the end zone. We are lucky to have President Trump in charge.”
Priebus spoke to The Hill exclusively as he exited the cloakroom on the way back to the White House, where GOP members will hold a press conference with Trump in the Rose Garden.
Trump to address ObamaCare repeal vote
President Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks from the White House’s Rose Garden at 3:30 p.m. touting the passage of the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan.
Trump had tweeted moments before the healthcare vote that he would hold a “big” press conference if the plan passed. GOP leaders were expected to attend the event.
If victorious, Republicans will be having a big press conference at the beautiful Rose Garden of the White House immediately after vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2017
House narrowly passes health plan
House Republicans narrowly passed their plan Thursday to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
The narrow 217-213 vote is a victory for GOP leaders, who faced a tumultuous path to getting the bill to the floor.
The measure had to be pulled in March because of a lack of votes, but a series of deals since then brought on board the conservative Freedom Caucus and then wavering moderates.
The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, repeals the core elements of ObamaCare, including its subsidies to help people get coverage, expansion of Medicaid, taxes and mandates for people to get coverage.
Read more about the legislation’s passage here.
Trump pushes back New York departure
President Trump is pushing back his meeting in New York with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull until later Thursday as the House votes on a bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump is remaining in Washington for “meetings” and will meet with Turnbull after dinner, instead of before.
Trump expecting ‘wonderful vote’
President Trump on Thursday expressed optimism about the House healthcare vote.
“Hopefully we’re going to have a wonderful day and a wonderful vote,” he said during a National Day of Prayer event at the White House.
“We’re going to take care of a lot of people, great great people from this country, with their healthcare — their healthcare needs.”
Washington Republican will miss vote
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) will not be in D.C. for today’s vote due to a family emergency, his office said Thursday.
That means Republicans can only afford 21 defections and still pass the bill, assuming no Democrats throw their support behind the measure. Newhouse announced in April that his wife has cancer.
House moves to debate on AHCA amendments
The House overcame a procedural hurdle to begin debate on the newly added amendments to the healthcare bill, as well as separate legislation to eliminate an exemption for lawmakers and their staffs.
The largely party-line 235-192 vote adds the two amendments that allow states to apply for waivers from key ObamaCare provisions and provide $8 billion over five years for high-risk pools.
Rep. Martha McSally’s (R-Ariz.) bill to get rid of a provision in the American Health Care Act that exempts lawmakers and their staffs from the state waivers will get an hour of debate. It had to be considered as separate legislation, rather than an amendment, to comply with Senate reconciliation rules.
Votes on both bills are expected in the 1 p.m. hour.
House Freedom Caucus member still undecided
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a prominent Freedom Caucus member with a history of bucking leadership, said he remains undecided but suggested the GOP bill is better than ObamaCare.
“What do I think about it from a policy standpoint? I think it’s not great policy, just like ObamaCare is not great policy,” Amash said. “[But] it’s likely a marginal improvement over ObamaCare. I’m an incrementalist, and we’re working through the details.”
Amash said it would be “useful” to have a CBO score, but that absence of that analysis won’t sway his vote.
“That’s never been a deal-breaker for me,” he said.
Retiring GOP rep will vote no on plan that could ‘severely harm’ constituents
GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) blasted the revised GOP healthcare plan, saying she can’t vote for a plan that could “severely harm the health and lives” of her constituents.
“The recent addition of further funds to high risk pools continues to be inadequate and fails to cover those who need it most,” she said in a statement.
“If enacted, the older and poorer South Floridians will be worse off and will find it more difficult to obtain quality healthcare. My constituents should not have to take a step backward in their ability to obtain treatment for any illness and thus, I will vote NO.”
Ros-Lehtinen, who has represented the Miami area since 1989, recently announced that she would not seek reelection next year.
Scalise predicts: ‘We’re going to get this bill passed’
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is vowing victory for GOP leadership in Thursday’s vote on the American Health Care Act.
“We’re going to have a good day today. We’re going to get this bill passed,” he said Thursday morning.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said there’s urgency to the push to repeal and replace ObamaCare, citing insurers exiting the exchanges in Iowa and Virginia.
“We cannot wait for ObamaCare to collapse. We have to transform this, and that’s what we’ll do today,” he said.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said those with pre-existing conditions will continue to be covered under the AHCA, saying Democratic attacks alleging otherwise aren’t true.
A new change to the AHCA would provide $8 billion to help people with pre-existing conditions afford their premiums in states that receive a wavier from ObamaCare protections for those patients under the new bill.
But outside analyses have shown that the high-risk pools where those individuals would obtain insurance would be underfunded under the GOP plan. The AARP called the proposal an “$8 billion giveaway to insurance companies” and said it “won’t help majority of those w/preexisting conditions.”
Freedom Caucus member still a no
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) says he still opposes the amended American Health Care Act after he offered two amendments Wednesday night that were not accepted.
“I have opposed the AHCA from the very beginning because it is not a clean repeal of Obamacare. While I applaud all the hard work of the House Freedom Caucus, which has made every effort in recent weeks to improve this legislation, the final bill unfortunately does not meet the promises I made to my constituents,” Biggs said in a statement.
Biggs is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group that helped scuttle a March vote on the first version of the AHCA over concerns that it did not go far enough to repeal ObamaCare.
Faso backs bill
Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.) tweeted Thursday morning that he now backs the amended AHCA.
“After careful review of the changes to the American Health Care Act, I believe that this legislation addresses my concerns and I will support the AHCA as amended,” he wrote.
After careful review of the changes to the AHCA, I believe that this legislation addresses my concerns and I will support it as amended.
— John Faso (@RepJohnFaso) May 4, 2017
Faso previously said he was undecided and still reviewing the recent changes.
Rohrabacher a yes, Amash undecided
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a yes on the amended ObamaCare replacement bill.
The California Republican was undecided on the last version, but says he’s inclined to support leadership on this vote.
Rohrabacher a YES. “”I’m inclined to support our leadership” and better than status quo
— Peter Sullivan (@PeterSullivan4) May 4, 2017
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), however, says he’s still undecided. He’s one of a couple members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus whose votes are still in play.
Amash says he’s still looking at the bill
— Peter Sullivan (@PeterSullivan4) May 4, 2017
Momentum for GOP as nail-biter vote looms
The House is set for a nail-biter of a vote Thursday on legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
Six weeks after they were forced to pull legislation from a scheduled vote, GOP leaders say they have the support to win passage of the amended American Health Care Act.
And the whip counts are definitely moving in their direction.
Rep. David Young (R-Iowa), long an opponent of the bill, is now a yes on The Hill’s Whip List. He’s a co-sponsor of legislation offered by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) that is key to getting Republicans on board.
Another no vote, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), told The Huffington Post’s Matt Fuller he was a yes on Thursday.
Just ran into Rep. Mark Amodei on Pennsylvania Ave.
He’s flipped to yes on AHCA.
We’re now at around only 15 hard noes.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) May 4, 2017
That still leaves a number of undecided votes for Republicans to win over, but it appears they are within striking distance.
The Hill will be providing live coverage here all day.