The American Health Care Act, strongly backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Trump administration, may not have the amount of votes needed to become law.
The Obamacare repeal and replace bill first needs to pass the House Budget Committee on Thursday. Only four Republicans need to join Democrats on the committee in voting against the bill for it to fail. Three of the members of the committee are part of the Freedom Caucus, which has come out against the law, and at least three other members have so far been hesitant to support the bill, according to a McClatchy report Monday.
If the bill were the pass the budget committee, it still faces a challenge to get a majority of the votes in the House. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said that no Democratic members will vote for the bill, and these members in addition to the House Freedom Caucus would be enough to kill the law.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer was asked about this math Monday and replied, “We’re going to continue to work with members of the House and then eventually the Senate. I feel very good, as the president continues to engage with members, that we will have the votes necessary.”
President Trump is scheduled to speak on the phone with Speaker Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy Tuesday afternoon. The president said Monday, “It’s a big, fat, beautiful negotiation, and hopefully, we’ll come up with something that’s going to be really terrific.”
The negotiations will not be constrained to the House, as the bill seems to face a greater challenge in the Senate. As of Tuesday, eight Republican senators have openly criticized the health care law. All but one of these senators would need to vote for the bill for it to be able to pass, without Vice President Mike Pence voting for it.
One of the Republican senators leading the charge against the bill, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, said Sunday that House support of the legislation could cost Republicans control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections.