After a series of break-out sessions discussing the details of the Obamacare replacement plan this week, the House Republican Conference is expected to start breaking down the specifics of what will be included in the reconciliation bill Thursday morning.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who has been leading the briefings, said the discussions have provided the opportunity for rank-and-file members to voice their concerns and hear from the chairmen of committees tasked with marking up the legislation.
“I think what most of the members wanted to know are what are the details –we talk conceptually a lot, but the members that aren’t on the committees of jurisdiction haven’t seen as much of the details as those of us that serve on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means and Education and Workforce,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “So, it was really good for the members to see a lot of the details and be able to ask specific questions because our members care about the policy– we want to make sure that we lower costs, allow patients to have real options in health car and restore the doctor-patient relationship.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed the upcoming conference meeting will involve going over policy specifics.
“We’ve been going through a lot of with Chairman Walden and Chairman Brady, walking members through the bill — I think the discussions have been very good with everybody,” McCarthy told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I think you’ll be happy with what you see moving in a very short time.”
Members of the House Freedom Caucus and a large portion of the Republican Study Committee recently called for a repeal measure as conservative as the budget passed in 2015 — which repealed Obamacare and was later vetoed by the president — to be brought up quickly, even if it doesn’t include replacement language on the reconciliation measure. The conservatives argued they need to make good on their campaign promises to repeal the law, adding they have concerns if they don’t act swiftly, it may not happen.
RSC Chairman Mark Walker said they want to make sure they don’t end up with lighter form of the Affordable Care Act
“I think the thing that we’re excited about is we are starting at the same place, which to me around here is half the battle, which is the full repeal 2015 measures for the fiscal year 2016, so I think that’s a good place,” Walker told TheDCNF. “What we have to figure out is do we want to add to this mandatory spending mindset when we’re working so hard to find good reforms and keep these programs solvent.”
Scalise said the they’ve heard a lot of good questions at the break-out sessions and is hoping it will lead to a consensus the majority of the party can get behind.
“We’ve been talking to them (House conservatives) a lot, I spoke with Mark Walker, he was at the break-out sessions yesterday that we held and he and I talked some more after, so this is an ongoing dialogue — bills haven’t even been filed yet, but at least everyone is getting to see them and give their input,” Scalise said. “There are a lot of bills that individual member have had and pieces of all of them are being pulled together.”
HFC Chairman Mark Meadows said the break-out sessions have given members a lot to think about.
“They’re doing a great job of trying to keep members informed — I think it becomes more of a strategical or tactical question on how you handle a very difficult issue, so I’d say there’s at least a willingness to explore a number of options,” he told reporters. “I don’t know that it’s brought any more consensus as much as it’s brought a whole lot more questions that need to be answered for than in the breakout session.”
Congress is expected to have legislation crafted by the end of March.
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