Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge 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 McConnellMcConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats insist budget consensus close as talks drag on Manchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks MORE (R-Ky.) made a commitment to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsFunding for victims of 'Havana syndrome' to be included in Pentagon bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination 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.
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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats try to back Manchin off killing paid family leave proposal Democrats cutting paid leave from spending deal amid Manchin opposition Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending 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 face growing hurdles in bid to oust DeSantis NASA adviser quits after request to change name of James Webb telescope denied NASA won't rename James Webb Space Telescope despite controversy 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 ColeWhy Congress must investigate crimes and abuses at Indian boarding schools House GOP leaders urge 'no' vote on Bannon contempt Cheney presses Republicans to back Bannon contempt vote 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.