Future of Revamped Health Care Bill Remains Dubious in House



Government funding ends Friday, allowing only three full days of legislative activity after the House returns late Tuesday night, and the last-minute controversial requests from the administration are threatening to make a deal harder to reach.

President Donald Trump, striving to make good on a top campaign promise, is pushing his fellow Republicans who control Congress to pass revamped healthcare legislation but the same intraparty squabbling that torpedoed it last month could do it again.

Not acting is not an option, which is why I am thankful President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are working tireless, as am I, to push for a health care law that repeals and replaces Obamacare with patient-centered health care reform.

Priebus also declined to say that Trump would veto a bill that didn't include wall funding.

The White House has been applying pressure to the House to vote on a bill sooner rather than later, but members said the call gave no indication that the votes are there. But negotiations on the spending measure, a pile of leftover business from past year that includes the budgets of nearly every federal agency, have hit a rough patch. But he said there was "no particular rush" to do it next week, when Congress returns from its spring recess.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Democrats and Republicans are united in their determination to keep the lights on.

Ryan and other House GOP leaders insisted in a Saturday call that they will keep the government open, though their strategy for doing so is still murky.

But observers warn the to-do list might be too long, and that Trump should focus on keeping the government running, or face voter outrage.

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An additional Democratic demand is for cost-sharing payments to insurance companies that help low-income people afford health policies under the health law.

On Friday, the Office of Management and Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, told Bloomberg that the White House had offered Democrats a dollar to fund healthcare subsidies for each dollar they support for the wall. Trump has threatened to withhold the money to force Democrats to negotiate on health legislation.

There was no discussion of how any deal on a bill to keep government funded until the October 1 start of a new fiscal year would resolve unsettled issues, including whether money would be provided for President Donald Trump's promised wall along the US border with Mexico. "We are more than happy to talk to the Democrats about some of their priorities but we encourage them to recognize that they are a minority party".

Those include $3 billion for border security and the construction of a border wall, as well as $30 billion more for defense spending. Talk of forcing Mexico to pay for it has largely been abandoned. "We will whip the bill next week and, if possible, vote on Friday". As part of his typical Saturday morning raft of tweets, Trump promised: "Big TAX REFORM AND TAX REDUCTION will be announced next Wednesday".

In the days following the collapse of Trump's initial attempt to dismantle Barack Obama's health care reforms, he signalled his intention to turn next to tax reform. "It goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall". Republicans didn't have the political will or votes for repeal.

The idea that Congress can simply pass both bills this week is not just unrealistic ― let's just say it will be a success if Republicans avoid a government shutdown ― but it underscores what is driving the White House's agenda right now: Trump hits his 100-day mark on Saturday, and he just wants to chalk up wins before then.

According to the Hill, the current beta of the Affordable Care Act being floated by Rep. Tom MacArthur is a compromise hinging on "giving states the ability to have waivers to repeal a Obamacare regulation preventing people with pre-existing conditions from being charged more", suggesting the GOP is still mired down negotiating with conservative representatives whose proscriptions are likely to clash with public opinion.

Information for this article was contributed by Andrew Taylor and Alan Fram of The Associated Press; and by Kelsey Snell and Damian Paletta of The Washington Post.

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