House Republican leadership’s chances of passing their Obamacare repeal legislation Thursday evening appears to be waning, with the House Freedom Caucus remaining unsupportive despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to persuade them.
Members of the powerful group of congressmen have been attempting to strong-arm leadership into changing the legislation — calling for the elimination of essential benefits.
“If there is a vote tonight, it will fail,” Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan told reporters following their meeting at the White House.
Amash took to Twitter to voice his reservations, saying the changes they were offered on essential health benefits would be counterproductive.
Repealing EHB, w/out making other substantial changes, would make the bill worse, not better. It would hurt the sickest people on exchanges.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 23, 2017
HFC Chairman Mark Meadows, whom Trump singled out during Tuesday’s conference meeting on Capitol Hill, confirmed a consensus has yet to be reached on the legislation.
“No deal,” he said upon his return to Capitol Hill.
Meadows has repeatedly said the HFC has enough votes to kill the bill, with roughly 24 of them remaining unsold.
House Speaker Paul Ryan can only afford to lose 22 votes to successfully pass the legislation through the lower chamber. While leadership appeared optimistic early Wednesday evening when they were close to sticking a deal, moderates began withdrawing their support in the face of conservative concessions.
HFC’s reluctance to get on board could potentially force leadership to delay the vote, since they would be risking the betrayal of a major Republican platform pledge.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said they are prepared to work through the weekend.
“Whatever we need to do,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
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