WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Budget Committee voted narrowly today to advance the Republican health care bill, with defections by three GOP conservatives.
The vote was 19-17, with Democrats unanimously voting no. The legislation has the backing of President Donald Trump, who one lawmaker said called Republicans on the panel to press them to push the bill forward.
The committee was debating a slew of non-binding proposals suggesting changes in the measure, with some expected from Republicans. Those may provide clues about the types of changes GOP leaders believe the legislation will need for it to win House approval, which top Republicans hope will occur next week.
The White House and Republican leaders are already talking to rank-and-file Republicans about revising the bill to nail down support.
Before the vote, panel Chairwoman Diane Black, R-Tenn., appealed to fellow Republicans to back the legislation, calling it “the conservative health care vision we’ve been talking about for years.” The measure would strike down much of former President Barack Obama’s 2010 overhaul and reduce the federal role, including financing, for health care consumers.
“Don’t cut off discussion. Stay with this effort,” she said, calling the measure “a good first step.”
Three members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus — Reps. Dave Brat of Virginia, Gary Palmer of Alabama and Mark Sanford of South Carolina — opposed the measure.
The committee vote came foThe bill would eliminate the tax penalty that pressures people to buy coverage and the federal subsidies that let millions afford it, replacing them with tax credits that are bigger for older people. It would cut Medicaid, repeal the law’s tax increases on higher earning Americans and require 30 percent higher premiums for consumers who let coverage lapse.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reiterated today that negotiations are ongoing to produce a bill that can actually pass the House. He insisted that Trump was closely involved in that process, disputing reports of “palace intrigue” or any “schism” between himself and the president.
“I am excited about the fact that we have a president who likes closing deals,” Ryan said.
At a late rally in Nashville Wednesday, Trump said: “We’re going to arbitrate, we’re all going to get together, we’re going to get something done.”