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Ryan's office warning he wasn't part of deal on ObamaCare: source

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care Trump urges Dems to help craft new immigration laws: ‘Chuck & Nancy, call me!' Sanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa MORE's (R-Wis.) office told a meeting of congressional leadership offices on Monday that the Speaker is not part of a deal to get ObamaCare fixes passed before the end of the year, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEx-lawmaker urges Americans to publicly confront officials Manchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia Democrats slide in battle for Senate MORE (R-Ky.) made a commitment to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsManchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns MORE (R-Maine) that he would support passage of two bipartisan ObamaCare bills before the end of the year, a promise that helped win her vote for tax reform.

However, Ryan's office told a meeting of staff from the four top congressional leadership offices on Monday that he has not made that same commitment, raising further questions about whether the ObamaCare bills, already opposed by House conservatives, can pass the House.

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Ryan’s office did not go so far as to say it opposed the bipartisan bills, the source said, and it is still possible the measures could pass before the end of the year. The Senate is expected to add the measures to a government funding bill later this month, which would put pressure on the House to accept it or else risk a government shutdown.

Collins also got a commitment from President Trump to support the bills, which could help get them to passage.

One of the measures in question, from Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.), would fund key ObamaCare payments to insurers for two years in exchange for additional flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules. The other bill, from Collins and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Election Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B MORE (D-Fla.), would provide funding known as “reinsurance” that helps pay for the costs of sick ObamaCare enrollees with the intent of bringing down premiums.

Collins hopes that these two bills would make up for the premium increases caused by repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the tax bill. Some experts have disputed that argument, saying more funding than what is proposed would be needed.

A Ryan spokeswoman pointed to the Speaker’s comments on the Alexander–Murray bill at a press conference on Tuesday. Ryan was asked if he opposes the  bill and whether he still thinks repeal and replacement of ObamaCare is the best path.

“Well of course I think that’s the best way we can go, but we’re going to have continued discussions with our members here in the House and across the aisle about the best way forward,” Ryan said. “We think health care is deteriorating. We think premiums are going up through the roof, insurers are pulling out and that’s not a status quo we can live with.”

Conservative House Freedom Caucus leaders said last week that they opposed adding those ObamaCare bills to a funding measure, saying they are simply propping up the health-care law.

In addition, Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeGOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters Both sides digging in for post-midterm shutdown fight Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills MORE (R-Okla.), a leadership ally, said on Monday that he did not think the Alexander–Murray bill could pass the House.

"The package that's put together today is just not sufficient to get the votes," Cole said. "You will not get the votes here. And we shouldn't be passing something if you get 50 Republican votes and 180 Democratic votes. That's not the way to pass something in the House that you control."

Cole said the measure would need “something that materially changes ObamaCare, materially lowers the cost that's driving up health care for everybody."

Collins, for her part, on Monday told reporters she is not concerned that the ObamaCare fixes were not included in a stopgap funding bill being voted on this week. She said she expects the measures to be in the next funding bill later in the month.

“I suspect it will be in the next one,” she said.