Trump Makes Last-Minute Plea To Hesitant House Members On Obamacare Repeal Bill

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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A number of Republicans said they remain unsold on the leadership-backed Obamacare repeal bill, despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to sway members during a trip to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning.

The clock is ticking for leadership to get the votes needed for the legislation to pass the scheduled Thursday vote. Trump’s visit signals the administration is pulling out all the stops to ensure the bills doesn’t fail.

According to a source inside the room, Trump told lawmakers this is their opportunity to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cautioned them not to blow it. He went on to single out House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, a vocal critic of the legislation, saying he thinks the group will come around “because honestly, a loss is not acceptable folks.”

“I ask for your support. You can blame me if you want. Mark did you hear that? You can blame me. Oh Mark, I’m gonna come after you,” Trump reportedly told the room, which was met with laughs, adding, “I hope Mark will be with us in the end.”

Despite the president’s plea, Meadows still plans to vote against the measure and is confident leadership doesn’t have enough support for it to pass.

“If this was about the president, I would have changed a long time ago,” he said after the meeting.

Staunch conservative Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky said, while Trump is “a very charming president,” he still doesn’t plan to vote for the measure in its current state.

“He didn’t change the substance of the bill, so, my vote is still the same,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation, adding he’s unsure on whether the vote will be pushed back if leadership doesn’t gain the support needed. “If they took it to the floor right now it would fail —  there is a lot of brinkmanship going on around here and we’ll see what happens in this game of chicken.

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told TheDCNF the president is a persuasive, but he is still undeclared on how he’s going to vote.

While changes to the bill have been made in the form of a manager’s amendment, in an attempt to appease members across the board, some say the modifications are not enough.

Conservatives have expressed skepticism over the bill’s language on refundable, advantage tax credits, its timeline on rolling back Medicaid expansion and the 30 percent hike in premiums

The conservative wing of the party is not alone in having concerns about the bill. Members of the moderate Tuesday Group also called for changes to the tax credit language, pushing to ensure the over-50 age bracket receive the proper amount needed to cover their care.

New York Rep. John Katko said he remains a no despite Trump’s pitch to lawmakers. He has repeatedly said he can’t support a repeal without a repeal “ready to go,” and was unmoved by the manager’s amendment released Monday evening.

“It (the conference meeting) was entertaining, he’s quite a mercurial guy,”Katko told TheDCNF.

The Tuesday Group is slated to meet with Trump later in the day.

Despite the remaining divide, leadership said they are confident they will get the votes needed.

“Thursday will be the day that we keep our word,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters at a press conference.

House Speaker Paul Ryan echoed McCarthy’s sentiments, saying the “president just knocked the ball out of the park,” adding this is conference’s time to unify.

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