The Latest: House Dems searching for draft health care bill

AP News
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Posted: Mar 02, 2017 1:21 PM
The Latest: House Dems searching for draft health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

House Democrats are walking around the Capitol in search of the Republican health care bill.

Reps. Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois came up empty at Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office and then headed to Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden's office where they were also turned away.

They say their stunt is designed to show that Republicans are hiding something of great importance to the public — perhaps because they're afraid to reveal that people will lose insurance.

The unusual search wound through the Capitol and labyrinthine Rayburn House office building. Democrats launched into it after Kentucky's Republican Sen. Rand Paul held an impromptu press conference to demand release of the bill.

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12:40 p.m.

Sen. Rand Paul is demanding House Republican leaders release a draft health care bill so the public can see it. And to make the point, the Kentucky Republican held an impromptu news conference outside a room on the first floor of the Capitol where he claimed the bill is being kept.

The stunt irked House GOP leaders. An aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the No. 4 House Republican, claimed that Paul was actually standing outside her office, not a secret bill room at all.

However Paul says that he and other conservatives will keep up their protests until the bill sees the light of day. They object to elements of the emerging bill and want Congress to vote simply to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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11:15 a.m.

Legislation to revamp the nation's health care system is being drafted this weekend.

That's according to Colorado congressman Mike Coffman, who says House Speaker Paul Ryan has told GOP colleagues that leaders will draft the legislation this weekend.

Coffman described Ryan's remarks after Republicans met privately Thursday to discuss replacing former President Barack Obama's health care law with their own programs.

Several Republicans say leaders want the House to approve legislation in the next few weeks. The hope is to give the Senate time to consider the bill before Congress takes a spring break in early April.

Lawmakers have said House committees could have initial votes on legislation as early as next week.

Republicans remain divided over key issues, including a proposed new tax on some employer-provided health plans.