WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vice President Mike Pence urged a roundtable of influential business and conservative group leaders gathered on Friday to use all of their resources to pressure members of Congress to begin debate on the repeal of Obamacare.
“We are just a few days away from a critical vote in Congress,” said Pence. “A vote to begin the debate on the repeal and replace of Obamacare.”
“President Trump and I are urging every member of the Senate to begin this debate,” Pence told the group. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell met with Trump on Wednesday and afterward announced to reporters that the Senate would vote in the coming week to begin debate on an Obamacare repeal bill.
The Vice President continued:
Every one of the groups that are gathered here today — the millions that you represent — are here to speak with one voice to say to the Congress: It’s time to vote. It’s time to act. It’s time to get on with a debate to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“As the President said, any senator who doesn’t vote to begin the debate is essentially telling the American people that they’re fine with Obamacare,” said Pence. He then recounted numbers to back up the argument that “Obamacare is collapsing” and that the promises made during the debate over it have not come to fruition.
Pence later urged each of the leaders gathered to use “all the platforms that you have and all the millions of Americans that you reach to make sure every American knows that every Republican in the Senate should vote to begin the debate.”
He also stated that both he and the President urged them to let people across this country know that they are very close to having the votes necessary to start the debate on repeal and replace of Obamacare in the Senate.
“Every member of the United States Senate should vote to begin the debate to rescue the American people from the disastrous policy of Obamacare,” said Pence.
He defined the message they sought to have these groups pass on to Americans:
…our message to each one of you and the groups that you represent is make sure the American people know that it’s time for Congress to act. And it’s time for the American people to let their voice be heard. There is no voice more powerful in Washington, D.C. than the voice of the American people.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price briefly addressed the room, echoing the words of the Vice President and urging, “Time is of the essence.” He went on to alert participants why congressional action is of such urgency.
“There are decisions that will be made over the next few weeks in states all across this land about what 2018 looks like from an insurance standpoint, and the decision that is made in the next few days in this town will dictate and determine what those decisions will be,” Price said.
Price emphasized the message that “The American people desire that health care be in the hands of people, in the hands of patients and their families and doctors — not in the hands of Washington, D.C.”
Participants included leaders from business groups and conservative organizations. A press pool report identified those in attendance as Penny Nance, Matt Schlapp, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Rachel Slobodien, David Christensen, Brendan O’Morchoe, Pete Sepp, as well as Neil Bradley from the Chamber of Commerce and a representative from NFIB.
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