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Live updates: Freedom Caucus members still oppose repeal bill

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Republican leaders are negotiating furiously to build support for their health care bill. | AP Photo

A group of hardline conservatives is still promising to make life difficult for the GOP leadership.

By Brianna Ehley

03/20/17 01:19 PM EDT

Updated 03/22/17 02:03 PM EDT

Conservative holdouts won't bend on repeal bill . More than two dozen House Freedom Caucus members remain opposed to the Obamacare repeal bill, according to a spokeswoman for the group. With all House Democrats expected to vote against the plan, it would take 22 Republican "no" votes to sink it.

The announcement came despite direct appeals from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and House Republican leaders.

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Trump on House bill: “We’ll see what happens.” House Republican leaders have dubbed President Donald Trump the “closer” in negotiations over the Obamacare repeal bill. But the president himself is sounding less than confident about the legislation’s prospects in the House Thursday.

Asked during a women in health care event if he will keep pushing for repeal if the bill doesn’t make it out of the House, Trump responded, “we’ll see what happens.” The uncertainty was in contrast to the confident tone of Republican leaders and members of Trump’s cabinet. HHS Secretary Tom Price on Tuesday said in a radio interview that the administration would “make this happen.” And Vice President Mike Pence said the administration was “very confident” there would be enough votes.

Republican leaders are relying on Trump to strong-arm holdouts and deliver votes. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday declared that Trump "knocked it out of the park" and succeeded in selling the health bill to wavering members during a meeting at the Capitol with the Republican conference. However, a number of conservative members continue to oppose the bill. Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he was “working hard” to secure the needed votes.

Biden blasts repeal bill as giveaway to the wealthy. Former Vice President Joe Biden keynoted a populist-themed rally against Obamacare repeal in Washington Wednesday, casting the GOP effort as a giveaway to the wealthy and business interests.

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“Eliminating the Affordable Care Act means eliminating an awful lot of things that people badly need in return for what?” Biden asked, standing alongside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats. “So the 0.9 percent in taxes for people making over $250,000 can be returned to them? So drug companies and insurance companies and medical device companies can benefit?”

He later predicted the bill won't pass, adding it would give an additional $57,000 a year in tax breaks for those making more than a million dollars a year. "If you lined up all the millionaires in America, and asked, 'Is this fair?' I think they would all say no,” he said. “I really do, I honest to

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Live updates: No deal after Freedom Caucus meeting at White House

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Republican leaders are negotiating furiously to build support for their health care bill. | AP Photo

A group of hardline conservatives is still promising to make life difficult for the GOP leadership.

By Brianna Ehley

03/20/17 01:19 PM EDT

Updated 03/23/17 01:49 PM EDT

House Freedom Caucus members left a last-minute meeting with the president this afternoon without a deal on Obamacare repeal, leaving today's expected vote in doubt.

Many lawmakers from the three-dozen-member caucus huddled at the White House with President Donald Trump and his senior leadership team, but they emerged without guaranteeing their support for the GOP bill.

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Leadership has not scheduled a time for the vote, as the bill's prospects remain uncertain. Last night, the White House made a last ditch effort to get conservatives on board by offering to repeal Obamacare’s requirement that insurers cover services including maternity care and mental health services.

Conservative lawmakers were pleased but are still demanding nothing less than a full repeal of Obamacare.

The bill, without Democratic backing, will need the support of 215 lawmakers out of the 237 members in the Republican caucus.

Meanwhile, moderate Republicans are peeling away, worried about forecasts of millions of people losing coverage. The Tuesday group, which consists of more than 40 moderate House Republicans, will meet with Trump at the White House Thursday afternoon.

Moderates unhappy. The White House's Wednesday night concessions angered moderate conservatives who already worried the bill would sharply reduce coverage. Rep. Charlie Dent, who leads the Tuesday Group, emerged last night from a lengthy meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan declaring he would vote against the GOP package.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that some Tuesday Group members have signaled that they may be winnable. "There are members who haven’t been with us" who are now reaching out and indicating they would support the bill, he said. Spicer added that Trump understands that offering concessions to moderates may cost support among conservatives, and vice versa. "This is something of a balancing act that goes on," he said.

Meanwhile, the House Rules Committee is waiting to reconvene after a 13-hour meeting Wednesday that recessed without finalizing floor rules setting debate over the repeal package.

Republican leaders still plan a Thursday vote. It’s unclear whether House Republicans can meet their self-imposed deadline to repeal the bill today. Even if they’re not sure they have the minimum votes, they could go open up the vote and essentially dare members not to fulfill their pledge to repeal Obamacare.

Senate Democrats vow to block repeal of essential health benefits. If the House approves an Obamacare repeal bill that rolls back the law’s essential health benefits provision, Senate Democrats this morning said they have the votes to block it. "Any assurances to your colleagues that future legislation to further scale back insurance coverage will pass through regular order if the AHCA is enacted are based on the flawed assumption that the Senate Democratic Caucus will vote to further erode the health

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Live updates: McCarthy hopes for Friday repeal vote

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Republican leaders are negotiating furiously to build support for their health care bill. | AP Photo

House leaders are now telling members to expect Friday votes.

By Brianna Ehley

03/20/17 01:19 PM EDT

Updated 03/23/17 04:50 PM EDT

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy hopes to bring the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill up for a vote in the chamber on Friday.

Republican leadership abruptly postponed a vote planned for tonight after they were unable to find the 215 "ayes" needed to get the measure through the chamber. During an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, McCarthy said he was confident that the effort will ultimately gain enough support to pass. Lawmakers will vote on a procedural measure this evening that will set up the process for a vote on the bill that could come as early as Friday.

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“When we bring it to the floor we’ll have the votes to get this done,” he said.

Repeal vote postponed. The House is scrapping its plan to hold a Thursday vote on Obamacare repeal after failing to secure enough votes for the GOP health plan.

The decision came after the conservative House Freedom Caucus left a meeting with the president Thursday afternoon without a deal on Obamacare repeal. Many lawmakers from the three-dozen-member caucus huddled at the White House with President Donald Trump and his senior leadership team, but they emerged without guaranteeing their support for the GOP bill.

House leaders are now telling members to expect Friday votes, but nothing official has been announced.

Wednesday night, the White House made a last ditch effort to get conservatives on board by offering to repeal Obamacare’s requirement that insurers cover services, including maternity care and mental health services. Conservative lawmakers said they were pleased but are still demanding nothing less than a full repeal of Obamacare.

The bill, without Democratic backing, will need the support of 215 lawmakers out of the 237 members in the Republican caucus. Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, estimated between 30 and 40 Republicans are now no votes.

Meanwhile, moderate Republicans are peeling away, worried about forecasts of millions of people losing coverage. The Tuesday Group, which consists of more than 40 moderate House Republicans, is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House Thursday evening. Meadows also said he's reaching out to Tuesday Group about finding consensus.

Moderates still unhappy. The White House's Wednesday night concessions angered moderate conservatives who already worried the bill would sharply reduce coverage. Rep. Charlie Dent, who leads the Tuesday Group, has already said he'll vote against the package.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that some Tuesday Group members have signaled that they may be winnable. "There are members who haven’t been with us" who are now reaching out and indicating they would support the bill, he said. Spicer added that Trump understands that offering concessions to moderates may cost support among conservatives, and vice versa. "This is something of a balancing act that goes on," he

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Live updates: CBO updates cost estimates for repeal bill

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Republican leaders are negotiating furiously to build support for their health care bill. | AP Photo

House leaders are now telling members to expect Friday votes.

By Brianna Ehley

03/20/17 01:19 PM EDT

Updated 03/23/17 05:52 PM EDT

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released an updated cost estimate for the House GOP health care plan. It saves less money — and still would leave 24 million more people without insurance in a decade.

The House GOP’s latest changes to its health care bill would reduce the deficit by $150 billion over 10 years — a decrease from the $337 billion initially projected.

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Those changes are part of the “manager’s amendment” offered by GOP leaders on Monday, which was intended to win over more House Republicans. GOP leaders canceled a scheduled vote on that bill Thursday, still lacking the votes. The bill could undergo further revisions, which could affect the CBO score.

'Buffalo Bribe' provision could spark lawsuit. New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is “seriously considering” a lawsuit against the federal government if an Obamacare repeal amendment to shift the cost of Medicaid from the counties to the state is approved.

The fate of the amendment is uncertain now that a vote on the Republican plan has been postponed.

In a conference call with reporters, Cuomo said a lawsuit would "prove what a scam and a fraud this delegation is trying to perpetrate on the people of the state." He said the amendment could be unconstitutional because it violates state sovereignty.

The amendment to the repeal bill, pushed by Reps. Chris Collins from the Buffalo suburbs and John Faso of Kinderhook, would bar federal reimbursements for Medicaid funds raised by New York’s local governments. Currently, the state’s Medicaid program is paid for by county, state and federal funds, with localities shouldering roughly 13 percent of the total Medicaid budget. Republican leaders adopted the language, since dubbed the "Buffalo Bribe," in a bid to pick up the votes of New York Republican representatives.

McCarthy hopes for Friday repeal vote. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy hopes to bring the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill up for a vote in the chamber on Friday.

Republican leadership abruptly postponed a vote planned for tonight after they were unable to find the 215 "ayes" needed to get the measure through the chamber. During an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, McCarthy said he was confident that the effort will ultimately gain enough support to pass. Lawmakers will vote on a procedural measure this evening that will set up the process for a vote on the bill that could come as early as Friday.

“When we bring it to the floor we’ll have the votes to get this done,” he said.

Repeal vote postponed. The House is scrapping its plan to hold a Thursday vote on Obamacare repeal after failing to secure enough votes for the GOP health plan.

The decision came after the conservative House Freedom Caucus left a meeting with

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Live updates: Trump wants Friday vote on repeal

Kevin McCarthy is pictured. | AP Photo

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy hopes to bring the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill up for a vote in the chamber on Friday. | AP Photo

House leaders are now telling members to expect Friday votes.

By Brianna Ehley

03/20/17 01:19 PM EDT

Updated 03/23/17 08:20 PM EDT

The Trump administration is demanding a Friday vote on the House GOP health plan, and it is threatening to drop the repeal effort entirely and leave Obamacare in its place if the vote fails.

With the take-it-or-leave-it approach, Trump is trying to strong-arm dozens of Republicans who've expressed reservations — or outright opposition — over the GOP health plan.

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CBO score no better for GOP. The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released an updated cost estimate for the House GOP health care plan. It saves less money — and still would leave 24 million more people without insurance in a decade.

The House GOP’s latest changes to its health care bill would reduce the deficit by $150 billion over 10 years — a decrease from the $337 billion initially projected.

Those changes are part of the “manager’s amendment” offered by GOP leaders on Monday, which was intended to win over more House Republicans. GOP leaders canceled a scheduled vote on that bill Thursday, still lacking the votes. The bill could undergo further revisions, which could affect the CBO score.

'Buffalo Bribe' provision could spark lawsuit. New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is “seriously considering” a lawsuit against the federal government if an Obamacare repeal amendment to shift the cost of Medicaid from the counties to the state is approved.

The fate of the amendment is uncertain now that a vote on the Republican plan has been postponed.

In a conference call with reporters, Cuomo said a lawsuit would "prove what a scam and a fraud this delegation is trying to perpetrate on the people of the state." He said the amendment could be unconstitutional because it violates state sovereignty.

The amendment to the repeal bill, pushed by Reps. Chris Collins from the Buffalo suburbs and John Faso of Kinderhook, would bar federal reimbursements for Medicaid funds raised by New York’s local governments. Currently, the state’s Medicaid program is paid for by county, state and federal funds, with localities shouldering roughly 13 percent of the total Medicaid budget. Republican leaders adopted the language, since dubbed the "Buffalo Bribe," in a bid to pick up the votes of New York Republican representatives.

McCarthy hopes for Friday repeal vote. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy hopes to bring the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill up for a vote in the chamber on Friday.

Republican leadership abruptly postponed a vote planned for tonight after they were unable to find the 215 "ayes" needed to get the measure through the chamber. During an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, McCarthy said he was confident that the effort will ultimately gain enough support to pass. Lawmakers will vote on a procedural measure this evening that will set

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