Ahead of House Vote to Begin Obamacare Repeal, Trump Says Health Law 'Will Soon Be History'

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Jan 13, 2017 6:51 AM
Ahead of House Vote to Begin Obamacare Repeal, Trump Says Health Law 'Will Soon Be History'

As the House gears up for a vote on a budget resolution that would begin the process of dismantling Obamacare, President-elect Trump tweeted that President Obama’s signature health law will soon be history.

The House will vote Friday on legislation passed by the Senate early Thursday morning.

Congressional Republicans are working quickly to move the budget before Trump takes office next week.  

Speaker Paul Ryan said that House Republicans and Trump are “in complete sync” on the resolution.

“We agree we want to make sure we move these things concurrently, at the same time repeal and replace,” he said at a news conference Thursday.

Not all Republicans are fully supportive of the plan, however, believing the GOP is rushing the resolution without fully reviewing the budget consequences.

"I don't want to vote for this and say it’s the first step (toward repeal), and find out that there are some long-term budget consequences," said Republican Representative Mark Amodei.

Republicans can only afford to have 23 of their members vote against it while still passing the legislation on their own, which looks likely to happen, according to The Hill.

But by the eve of Friday’s vote, the budget looked likely to pass a day after the Senate approved it on a party-line vote. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the only Republican to vote against the budget resolution along with all Democrats.

It’s likely a handful of House Republicans will similarly oppose the measure, but not enough to tank it.

Sources in the conservative House Freedom Caucus predicted the budget would pass, as did several members of the GOP vote-counting operation.

“It's going well,” said Chris Bond, a spokesman for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). “We're looking forward to a good vote.”

Two influential conservative groups, Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, are urging Republicans to support the budget and are including the vote on their annual scorecards. Members of Scalise's whip team reminded members of that in arguments to lawmakers still on the fence.

Only three centrist Republicans voted against repealing the healthcare law last January, one of more than 60 times the House passed a bill to undo the law in the last six years. 

The House is likely to see at least twice as many defections on the GOP side on Friday, even though it's the first time a repeal vote could actually lead to the end of ObamaCare.

A handful of conservative lawmakers are already on record saying they will vote no on the GOP budget, griping that it doesn't do enough to tackle federal spending and debt or that leadership has not laid out enough details of how it will go about replacing ObamaCare. They include Freedom Caucus members like Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.), as well as another conservative, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).

“I want to vote for a budget that balances, but I also want to get the repeal going as soon as possible,” Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) told The Hill. “I really don’t believe we’re going to come up with anything that will satisfy the other side. If we put forth our replacement at the time we repeal or a year from now, the fight’s going to be the same.”

“I think this is a rare opportunity to vote change and we don’t want to squander it,” he added.

Ryan said a replacement plan will be outlined during a GOP House-Senate retreat the week after the inauguration.

 “Some of these steps will be taken by Congress; some of these steps will be taken by the incoming Trump administration,” he said, referring to after Rep. Tom Price is confirmed as HHS secretary. “So this will be a thoughtful, step-by-step process. We’re not going to swap one 2,700-page monstrosity for another.”