White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday appealed to conservatives to back the Obamacare replacement bill, after several changes were made.
“Keep in mind if you are a conservative who has been fighting for repeal and replace, this is your chance,” he said at the White House briefing.
He also warned that Republicans who promised health care reform but did not back the bill would “probably pay a price at home.”
“I think there’s going to be a price to be paid. But it’s going to be with their own voters, and they’re going to have to go back and explain to them why they made a commitment to them, and then didn’t follow through,” he said.
The bill is scheduled for a vote in the House on Thursday, but House Freedom Caucus members say the new changes to the bill don’t go far enough, and they remain opposed to the bill.
“At this time, the bill does not have the votes to pass,” Freedom Caucus Communications director Alyssa Farah told Breitbart News on Monday evening, after the new changes were announced.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) needs 216 votes for the bill. If 22 Republicans defect, the bill fails.
The new changes included a work-requirement for those receiving Medicaid, struck out abortion tax credits, and set rules that would make it more difficult for New York State to shift New York City’s Medicaid’s costs onto the rest of the state.
The House Freedom Caucus rejected the changes as too little, too late. They want complete repeal of Obamacare.
President Trump went to the Capitol Tuesday morning to convince skeptical members to support the bill, and plans on talking to more members on Wednesday.
He was reported to have threatened members voting against the bill with primary challenges, but Spicer did not confirm those reports.
“Let’s get through the vote,” he said. “I think one of the things that he made clear this morning was that he was going to make sure that the people who did support this, he would be out there supporting them. And so I’m not going to focus on the negative as much as the positive today.”
Spicer characterized the bill as keeping a promise to voters.
“And this bill, while probably not everybody got everything they wanted, does exactly what we said. It’s repealing it and replacing it with all of the principles and the aspects that we discussed throughout not only last cycle, but in a lot of these cases back to 2010,” Spicer said.