Trump: Vote for health-care bill or face consequences
WASHINGTON — With time for talk running out, President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned wavering House Republicans that their jobs were on the line in next year’s elections if they failed to back a GOP bill that would upend Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
The countdown quickened toward an expected vote Thursday on legislation undoing much of the law that has provided coverage to some 20 million Americans. Trump huddled behind closed doors with rank-and-file Republicans just hours after GOP leaders unveiled changes intended to pick up votes by doling out concessions to centrists and hardliners alike.
Trump’s message to Republicans: “If you don’t pass the bill, there could be political costs,” said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.
Even with the revisions, the outlook for House passage remains dicey. After a day of cajoling votes, a senior administration official said the White House is trying to persuade about 20 to 25 House Republicans who are either opposed or undecided. House leaders and Trump can only afford to lose 21.
Trump warned House Republicans they’d seal their political doom if they waver, with the party potentially losing control of the House. Still, several conservatives were steadfast in their opposition even after the session with Trump.
“The president wouldn’t have been here this morning if they have the votes,” said Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, who complained that the GOP bill leaves too much government regulation in place.
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said Trump told Republicans he would campaign for them if they backed the bill. Trump didn’t indicate what he would do to those who vote against the bill, but during the caucus, he singled out Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., an outspoken critic of the bill.
Collins said Trump asked Meadows to stand up, called him a great guy and said he is counting on Meadows to get this over the line. Meadows was still a “no” vote at the end of the day.
Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said if Republicans pass the legislation, “people will reward us. If we don’t ..., it will be very hard to manage this.”