Meadows: Senate bill lacks conservative support to pass House

Meadows: Senate bill lacks conservative support to pass House
© Greg Nash

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said the Senate healthcare reform legislation doesn’t have enough conservative support to pass the House, should it get that far.

A spokesman for the conservative leader, who played a role in passage of the House legislation repealing some parts of ObamaCare, said Meadows doesn’t think the draft bill released Thursday by the House will pass muster.

“Rep. Meadows believes the current version of the Senate bill would not have the conservative support to pass through the House, but we're optimistic that the issues can be resolved,” Meadows spokesman Ben Williamson told The Hill.

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Senate Republican leaders intend to vote on the legislation next Thursday, before leaving for the Fourth of July recess. They face defections from conservatives and centrist Republicans to their initial draft and have vowed to make changes. It’s not clear how they can satisfy both groups and get to 50 votes, however. Vice President Pence could then cast a tie-breaking vote.

If it passes, the House will need to either pass the Senate version or go to a conference committee to work out the differences.

The Freedom Caucus has not taken an official position on the bill, but caucus spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said one could come in the future. Farah also said Meadows believes the House needs to go to conference with the Senate, if a bill should pass.

Meadows isn’t the only House Republican to express misgivings about the Senate legislation. Even before the bill was introduced, 28 members of the House Republican Study Committee sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security Pence quotes MLK in pitch for Trump's immigration proposal MORE (R-Ky.) outlining four crucial areas that needed to be addressed, including ending Medicaid expansion after 2020 and repealing all of ObamaCare’s taxes.

The Republican Study Committee is the largest bloc of conservatives in Congress. It opposed an earlier version of the House bill but was brought in by giving states the option to impose work requirements to Medicaid, as well as block granting the program.

The American Health Care Act narrowly passed the House in May only after the legislation was amended to win votes from conservatives. Until those changes were made, the legislation lacked the support to pass.

But the Senate has softened some of those same provisions, which could prove problematic in the House.