Mar 22, 2017

Trumpcare staggers toward its big day

Greg Ruben / Axios

It's almost time for Trumpcare to go to the floor! But first, who's ready for another really long day in a committee hearing room? That's great, because the Rules Committee is ready to spend many hours talking about amendments that will never get a vote. Unless they decide to give the Freedom Caucus one floor vote to make them happy.

Here's what to watch today:

  • The Rules Committee meets at 10 am to plow through more than 20 amendments, most of which will never go to the House floor. But there's one substitute by Freedom Caucus member Mo Brooks that would completely repeal Obamacare, so watch to see if he gets a vote. Same with Rep. Joe Barton's amendment to end Medicaid expansion faster.
  • Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price is signaling to his former House colleague that the administration is done negotiating on amendments. "At some point, you've got to put down the pens, and the hour is late," he said yesterday on the Hugh Hewitt show.
  • President Trump is sure to keep working on Republicans himself, following his visit to Capitol Hill yesterday and a meeting with moderate Republicans at the White House.
  • Trump has made progress in winning over moderates, and some conservatives are dropping their opposition because of the latest changes to the bill — including Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama, who voted against the bill in the House Budget Committee but now supports it.
  • There are still a lot of holdouts, even after the Trump visit. Republicans can only lose 21 votes, and multiple reports suggested they're currently losing more than that. (The New York Times reports they could be short by as many as three dozen votes.)
  • From a leadership source late yesterday: "We are moving members. Going in the right direction. Still working."
  • Two powerful conservative groups — Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity — oppose the bill and are making this a "key vote," meaning they'll keep track of any Republicans who vote for it. (The National Right to Life Committee, however, is supporting it.)

Oh, and don't forget the Senate, where they can't lose more than two Republicans. So here's three who are opposing it: Sens. Susan Collins, Rand Paul, and now Mike Lee, who tweeted yesterday that "I am a no." Wait your turn, Senate. Stop stealing attention from the House.

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