House GOP postpones vote on health care bill


Update, 3:36 p.m.: House GOP leadership has just announced that there will not be a vote on the healthcare bill today. The entire House GOP conference will meet tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss next steps. See below for more.

House Republican leaders were supposed to hold a vote on the health care bill tonight, but this morning, they weren’t ready yet.

The Rules Committee, which determines how the measure will be debated and voted on in the House, met for 12 hours yesterday, and adjourned after midnight without agreeing on a path forward.

The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Mark Meadows, had his own late night meeting — with President Trump over the bill. Many of the “no” votes that threaten to scuttle the bill come from members of the Freedom Caucus, which is made up of the most conservative members in the House. Meadows said he was “encouraged” by his meeting with the White House — their negotiations continued today.

The Freedom Caucus wants to lower premiums by rolling back what are known as the Obamacare “essential benefits” — like maternity care, emergency room visits, prescription drugs. But several moderates will likely reject this approach.

Republicans can lose up to 22 members, assuming that no Democrats will support the bill. Here’s the most current count of the “no” votes, according to CBS News.

And here’s the latest:

3:36 p.m. House GOP leadership has just announced that there will not be a vote on the healthcare bill today. The entire House GOP conference will meet tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss next steps.

3:12 p.m. Ryan’s press conference has been postponed for a second time, CBS News’ Catherine Reynolds reports.

1:47 p.m. The Freedom Caucus is currently meeting behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. Amash said that eliminating essential health benefits isn’t enough and that adding it alone would make the measure worse, CBS News’ Catherine Reynolds reports.

Meadows said he wants the key provisions in the second phase of the repeal and replace strategy moved into this bill. He said that GOP leaders don’t have the votes to pass the current version.

1:44 p.m. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, just said that there is no deal between the White House and their conservative bloc of lawmakers, CBS News’ Walt Cronkite reports. With no deal, it’s unclear how Republicans will move forward and whether the vote will still occur Thursday night.

12:45 p.m. President Obama issued a statement earlier in the day marking the 7th anniversary of Obamacare.

“Thanks to this law, more than twenty million Americans have gained the security and peace of mind of health insurance,” he said. “Thanks to this law, more than ninety percent of Americans are insured – the highest rate in our history. Thanks to this law, the days when women could be charged more than men and Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage altogether are relics of the past.”

Obama said that seniors have bigger discounts on prescription drugs and young people can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26.

“And Americans who already had insurance received an upgrade as well – from free preventive care, like mammograms and vaccines, to improvements in the quality of care in hospitals that has averted nearly 100,000 deaths so far,” he said.

12:43 p.m. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, held her weekly press conference and mocked the president for having the healthcare vote scheduled on the anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law.

“Rookie’s error, Donald Trump,” she said.

The House Republican conference was supposed to meet this morning at 9 a.m., but that meeting was postponed, CBS News’ Catherine Reynolds reported. House Speaker Paul Ryan was supposed to hold his weekly news conference at 11:30 a.m., but that’s now been pushed to 3:30 p.m.

The president is meeting with the House Freedom Caucus this morning, also at 11:30 a.m., on changes to the health care bill.

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