House Speaker Paul Ryan said he’s confident enough House Freedom Caucus members will support his Obamacare repeal legislation for it to pass the lower chamber, despite the powerful conservative group’s claim that leadership doesn’t have the votes.
A number of HFC members said an estimated 40 lawmakers remain “no” votes on the legislation, citing concerns the bill is not conservative enough. While the powerful conservative group continues to push for changes to the bill’s text, Ryan is confident the measure will pass Thursday.
“I disagree with that because we have a lot of Freedom Caucus members who are supporting this bill,” Ryan told reporters at a press conference following a meeting Tuesday. “We’ve been working with all of our members on many of their concerns, and I would simply say that a lot of our members concerns have been incorporated in this process.”
Ryan touted the legislation’s conservative language, noting that changes have been made to provide states with the ability to receive a block grant for Medicaid, to incentivize work requirements and prevent states from “expanding and gaming the system.”
“This is the most pro-life legislation we’ve had since partial-birth abortion, it’s a massive tax cut and we made the tax cuts effective in 2017,” he continued.
Ryan noted the changes, which come in the form of a manager’s amendment released Monday evening, included a number of the requests made by conservatives.
“In this day and age, and in this business, in politics, if you get 85 percent of what you want that’s pretty darn good,” he said. “We know we can’t get 100 percent of what we want every time around here and in this particular case in because of Senate rules.”
The Wisconsin Republican noted the bill’s architects are aiming to make the legislation as conservative as possible without adding language that could potentially impact Senate support.
If the bill passes the lower chamber, it will then head to the Senate, where further changes are expected.
“If we do it here, we will jeopardize the entire bill, so I think people respect and understand this legislative process, ” he said, adding he thinks members will realize they are getting most of their desired components.
The comments follow President Donald Trump’s appearance at the House Republican conference meeting Tuesday morning in an attempt to sell unsure members. Trump reportedly told members they could have a tough time retaining their seats in 2018 if they choose not to vote for the measure.
Ryan believes members need to make good on the promise they made to their constituents.
“At the end of the day it really is a choice — do you want to stick with the Obamacare status quo, do you want to stick with the idea that we made a promise and we’re not going to keep it?” he said. “Or do we want to replace this bill with clearly a much better law — something that makes good on our principles and our promises and gets this country on the right track.”
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