In a meeting with Republican lawmakers Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump aimed to “close the deal” on the party’s healthcare law, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, as well as warn members about the political consequences of failing to act.
“This is our moment, and it’s a big moment,” Ryan said at a press conference following the meeting. “I think our members are beginning to appreciate just what kind of a rendezvous with destiny we have right here.”
Trump, Ryan added, was clear that if Republicans deliver on their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, “the people will reward us.” But if they don’t, “it will be very hard to manage this.”
GOP leaders have faced considerable blowback since they introduced the American Health Care Act, from outside forces like trade groups and consumer advocates, as well as within their own party. Hardline conservatives—including members of the House Freedom Caucus—derided it as “Obamacare lite,” while Republican governors have expressed concern about deep cuts to Medicaid.
But Ryan disputed the notion that the AHCA will not have enough votes to pass, pointing out that plenty of Freedom Caucus members support the bill and that amendments made to the bill late Monday directly address some lawmakers’ concerns.
That includes some “huge conservative wins,” he noted, like provisions that keep nonexpansion states from expanding their Medicaid programs and gaming the system, and “massive tax cuts” that have been moved up from 2018 to 2017.
“All of those things were requests by these members,” Ryan said, adding that these days in politics, if you get 85% of what you want, “that’s pretty darn good.”
After a meeting Monday night about amending the bill, however, some conservatives remained unconvinced, according to Politico. "House leadership does not have the votes to pass this very liberal bill unless they have a bunch of Democrats on board!" Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said as he exited the meeting.
Watch Ryan and other GOP lawmakers' full press conference: