Obamacare Repeal Bill Squeaks By Budget Committee

Juliegrace Brufke | Capitol Hill Reporter

The House GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill passed the House Committee on the Budget by a narrow margin Thursday in a 19-17 vote.

Three Republicans — Reps. Dave Brat of Virginia, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Gary Palmer of Alabama, who are all House Freedom Caucus members — bucked Chairman Diane Black’s request for them to support the measure, citing a number of provisions they felt weren’t conservative. Many members of the Caucus have repeatedly expressed reservations over the current language, specifically where it concerns Medicaid reform, the 30 percent increase on premiums and finally, tax credits, which conservative members of Congress feel create a new entitlement program.

Black told reporters that House leadership has encouraged members to make motions targeted at improving the bill. Top Republicans have repeatedly stated they are looking to hit a “sweet spot,” where both conservative and moderates are willing to get behind the legislation.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows told reporters he believes leadership is currently short on the votes needed to pass the bill in its current state. The HFC is expected to unveil a package of amendments Friday.

Black said she’s hopeful the bill will garner more support as they continue to move through the process.

“Every step of this process just makes this bill better and better — the more we talk about it, the more we involve our members, and that’s what the process is all about,” she told reporters after the markup, adding she hopes conservatives move forward with them on the process and continue to voice suggestions.

The House Committee on Rules is expected to take up the measure next week, and critics of the legislation are optimistic that the bill will be altered at that time.

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