Here are the top stories for Friday, March 17th; Trump hosts Merkel at the White House; HHS Chief tries to build GOP support for health care overhaul; Flooding and mudslides boost death toll in Peru.
Trump’s first major legislative initiative still faces an uphill battle in the full House and later the Senate despite ongoing efforts by the White House and Republican leaders to satisfy conservative opponents.
Mr. Trump himself hadn’t specified what changes would be made to the legislation, but said “we have rejiggered it” to satisfy some of the GOP opponents. “They’ll have nobody”, he said, adding that there are many states where they have one.
To the new bill’s architects I’d say: freedom, individual liberty and individualism are great American concepts, but when applied to the health insurance market only mean one thing – more Americans will become sick, dying and/or bankrupt.
President Donald Trump, whose administration initially embraced the House health care bill, has lately called it “very preliminary”, and said he’s not signing it unless it takes care of his people.
“What I would suggest”, Graham said, “is if we can’t improve the House bill, and I would urge the speaker to let the Freedom Caucus have the relevant votes, that we let this program, designed by Democrats exclusively, voted on by Democrats exclusively, fail, and challenge Democrats to help clean up the mess they created”. Nevada’s Dean Heller, Ohio’s Rob Portman, and Arkansas’s Tom Cotton are among the Republican senators who have expressed reservations about the House bill.
“I agree with Governor Sandoval”, Heller said in a statement.
Getting the support of that group of GOP House members better solidifies support for the bill at a moment when its passage appeared in peril. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Steve Daines, R-Mont., to craft several amendments to the leadership proposal. “Trump says the attendees were “mostly no’s, yesterday” and now they’re all yes’s”. The Republicans who vote for it also stand to pay a large price: Their souls, as well as their seats, could well be at stake.
House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows (R-NC) told reporters that the proposed changes, the text of which has not been made public, “doesn’t change my whip count, which indicates that there are 40 noes”. Graham laid out an alternative approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare, which Democrats passed in 2010 with no Republican support whatsoever. “If they can continue with the current system or do a block grant, that makes me a little uncomfortable”.
“There is not saber-rattling”. He said those votes, combined with another large bloc of undecided members, guarantee the legislation can not pass the House in its current format.
“Sometimes I think they’re afraid to vote over there”, Mr. Cole said.
Ryan told a news conference that Trump was “deeply involved” and “helping bridge gaps” among Republican lawmakers to get a consensus plan. He said he believes they have not agreed to quickly phase out an expansion of Medicaid, another conservative demand.
The governors’ proposal would keep an expansion of the program and make it available to other states that didn’t expand it under the Affordable Care Act. That group of House members includes some who’d been lukewarm about the bill going into the meeting.
“Unfortunately, the current version of the House bill does not meet this test”, the governors wrote.
President Donald Trump has said that Obamacare was a “disaster” and it’s “failing miserably”, as he plans to replace the affordable healthcare of his predecessor on account of significant increase in its insurance premium. While the program is optional it provides incentives for states to implement them. An estimated 4.3 million children, pregnant women, low-income and disabled people would suffer reduced access to care.