Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R.-WI) told reporters Tuesday that President Donald Trump closed the deal with House Republicans on Ryan’s American Health Care Act, scheduled for a vote Thursday.
“President Trump was here to do what he does best, and that is to close the deal. He is all-in—and we are all-in—to end this Obamacare nightmare,” said the speaker, who was flanked by other members of the GOP’s gang of four: California’s Majority Leader Kevin McCathy (R.-CA), Louisiana’s Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R.-LA), and Washington State’s Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairwoman of the Republican House Conference.
The speaker dismissed the premise of a reporter’s question about the House Freedom Caucus holding back enough Republican votes to tank the RyanCare bill.
“We have a lot of House Freedom Caucus members supporting this bill,” he said.
“We have been working with all of our members with all of their concerns–and a lot of these members’ concerns have been incorporated in the bill,” Ryan said.
If the RyanCare bill goes to the House floor Thursday, the speaker needs 216 votes for majority because of five vacancies. The GOP holds 237 seats to the 193 seats held by Democrats, so if 22 Republicans defect, the bill fails.
The House Freedom Caucus does not reveal its membership or its whip count, but reporting by Breitbart News puts the HFC’s bloc of “No” votes as north of 25.
Changes to the RyanCare bill were announced Monday night, which would add a work-requirement, strike out RyanCare’s abortion tax credits, and would set out 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 population.
The HFC rejected the changes as too little, too late.
The Republican Study Committee endorsed the RyanCare bill after meeting last week with the president at the White House with Scalise, the former RSC chairman.
While meeting with the House Republicans, Trump was reported to have threatened members voting against the RyanCare bill with primary challenges, but many on Capitol Hill see Trump’s visit as a preemptive defense against the charge that the RyanCare bill failed because he did not put in enough effort.
The RyanCare bill is not the same repeal bill that all Republicans in the House and Senate voted for in 2015. That bill repealed the entire 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which created Obamacare.
The speaker said the House is moving forward with the vote Thursday, and he sees his amendment to the Obamacare program as a promise kept with the voters.
“I think what this comes down to is what it said on those banners last night at his rally in Kentucky: ‘Promises made. Promises kept.’ Obamacare was anything but that. People were promised one thing and they were given another,” Ryan said.
“They were promised that they would get lower premiums,” he said. “Instead, premiums are skyrocketing and people are paying much more. They were promised that they could keep their plan, and many millions have lost their plan. They were promised more choices, and now millions of Americans have no health care choice at all.”