Posted: 12:55 pm Thursday, March 9th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
Amid continued grumbling from some conservatives inside and outside of the Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan used a professorial presentation on Thursday to urge GOP lawmakers to stick together on health care reform, arguing the Republican plan represents the best opportunity for major changes to the Obama health law.
“We promised the American people we would fix this problem,” the Speaker said, as he used a power point to make the case for the GOP health plan that was unveiled just on Monday.
“This is something, we as conservatives, have been dreaming about for decades,” the Speaker said. “This is the chance, and the best and only chance we’re going to get.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 9, 2017
Ryan’s presentation sounded more like one he might give to GOP lawmakers behind closed doors to keep them on board, as he outlined a three step process on health reform:
1) The GOP health bill – which is limited by special “budget reconciliation” rules, so that it cannot be filibustered in the Senate
2) Relying on administrative and regulatory changes by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price
3) A second bill, which could include things like selling health insurance across states lines, and more – but that would most likely need 60 votes to get through the Senate.
Ryan’s push came about two hours before a second House committee wrapped up work, and approved a portion of the GOP health bill, getting the plan past the first two legislative hurdles in the Congress.
Next week, the measure is expected to go before the House Budget Committee – as lawmakers await cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
If you’re wondering about what GOP lawmakers are being told about the plan, here’s part of a presentation on the health bill that was being made available on Capitol Hill:
While Ryan was making the case in public, behind the scenes, the President has been lobbying key lawmakers as well, cajoling them to stick with the Republican health effort.
Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2017
Mr. Trump will host a group of GOP lawmakers at the White House – having them over for some bowling (yes, there is a bowling alley there).
But there still are deep concerns among conservatives, such as the members of the House Freedom Caucus, who could conceivably sink the GOP bill if they stuck together against it.
Even some GOP Senators have expressed their worries in public as well.
“Get it right,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).
1. House health-care bill can't pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don't get it fast.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) March 9, 2017
Democrats immediately seized on that tweet from Cotton, along with any other evidence of GOP division, trying their best to stop the Republican health reform push.
Meanwhile, President Trump will be back on the road next week to sell the work of his administration – and presumably this push on health care.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.