Meadows says ObamaCare replacement will come from Congress

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWashington in frenzy over release of Mueller report Overnight Health Care: DOJ charges doctors over illegal opioid prescriptions | Cummings accuses GOP of obstructing drug pricing probe | Sanders courts Republican voters with 'Medicare for All' | Dems probe funding of anti-abortion group Cummings accuses Oversight Republicans of obstructing drug price probe MORE (R-N.C.), one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE’s closest congressional allies, on Thursday said any plan to replace ObamaCare will come from Congress, rather than the administration.

“It’s my impression there will be a plan the president and White House endorses, but I think it will be a collaborative effort between House and Senate Republicans,” Meadows told reporters.

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Meadows said legislation would likely start in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“We’re working behind the scenes on the House side to have a companion piece of legislation that the White House would not only embrace, but … certainly House Republicans and senators … could embrace a plan the president would get behind,” Meadows said.

Meadows’s comments cast doubt on a claim made by former White House aide Marc Short. Short, who is now chief of staff to Vice President Pence, told CNN on Wednesday that President Trump plans to submit a health care plan to Congress "this year.”

The Trump administration on Monday took Capitol Hill by surprise when the Justice Department said it agreed with a federal judge that the entire ObamaCare law should be invalidated. The Department of Justice had previously held that the law's protections for those with pre-existing conditions were unconstitutional.

The decision marked an escalation in the Trump administration's legal fight against former President Obama's signature health care law.

Senate Republicans this week have appeared reluctant to jump back into a health care fight, especially after the party suffered bruising losses across the country in the midterm elections.

Senators said the onus should be on Trump to come up with a health care plan, since it’s his idea.

Meadows said he has not heard from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ MORE (R-Calif.) about efforts to draft legislation, but added “I don’t normally wait on anybody to tell me to do anything.”

McCarthy urged Trump in a phone call to drop his administration’s effort to have the law struck down in the courts, arguing the strategy makes little sense after Democrats won control of the House in November after campaigning on health care.