Obamacare Repeal Bill Set To Take Next Steps Amid Conservative Pushback

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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The House GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill is scheduled to head to the House Committee on the Budget for markup Wednesday, following its passage out of two key panels last week.

While the legislation is headed toward its next steps, conservatives are still pushing back against a number of provisions, including language on advanceable, refundable tax credits — which they feel creates a new entitlement program — and a 30 percent premium hike for those who choose to drop insurance. All such complaints could prove problematic for leadership.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus blasted House Speaker Paul Ryan for saying this is the GOP’s best shot at making good on their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, referring to it as a “binary choice.”

“I know there’s a lot of members who don’t want this binary choice,” former HFC Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio said during an appearance on CNN Friday. “They want to weigh in and be part of the legislative process.”

Leadership sources said they crafted the bill using a “bottom-up” approach, having hosted a number of break-out sessions in February to discuss member concerns.

“Bottom line: The speaker’s point on this being a binary choice is simply reality: vote for a bill that can pass both chambers — or vote for Obamacare status quo,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told reporters.

Proponents of the bill noted that members of the House Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee, seated with both the Committee on Ways and Means and Committee on Energy and Commerce, voted in favor of the bill.

The HFC is pushing for a “clean repeal,” arguing they should vote on the legislation vetoed by former President Barack Obama in 2015, while bridging the divide on the replacement process.

House GOP leadership has repeatedly said they did not get everything they wanted in the initial reconciliation bill, which only requires a simple majority in the Senate to pass, due to procedural restrictions in the upper chamber. But plan to is move forward with the rest of their repeal and replacement plans using additional legislation and executive orders.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected schedule votes on several bills containing replacement language they were unable to put in the reconciliation measure.

If the legislation makes it out of the Budget Committee, it will then head to the Rules Committee, which would likely take place next week, followed by a full vote on the House floor.

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