GOP coming up short on votes to pass AHCA, reports say

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says he is a firm "no" and that he has at least 22 votes from conservative hard-liners to defeat the bill.
By Jeff Lagasse
02:14 PM
Trump healthcare bill, ACHA

The House of Representatives may not have enough Republican votes to pass the GOP-crafted American Health Care Act on Thursday, according to published reports.

As of Wednesday, 25 House Republicans say they cannot support the AHCA in its current form, according to CBS News. Meanwhile, Senators such as Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Tim Cotton and Ted Cruz have also expressed opposition, suggesting the bill could die in the Senate if the House manages to advance it.

While Conservatives oppose the tax credit system set up by the AHCA, moderates are also criticizing the bill for not doing enough to control the rising costs of premiums.

The stakes are high for the Trump administration, with the President Donald Trump, who claimed last autumn that "everyone will be covered," strongly supporting a bill the Congressional Budget Office said would insure millions fewer than the Affordable Care Act. Trump has warned GOP members of Congress that they risk losing their seats int e 2018 midterm election is they vote against the bill.

According to the Hill, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said he was a firm "no" and that he had at least 22 votes from conservative hard-liners to defeat the bill.

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., told The Hill he would reject the measure, saying he would like to see tougher screenings to make sure those receiving tax credits are in the country legally.

If all Democrats cast a "no" vote, as is expected, 22 defections from the GOP would kill the bill.

Not all news was bad for Republicans. The GOP unveiled a series of tweaks to the bill Monday night, which inspired four representatives -- Martha McSally of Arizona, Tom McClintock of California, Tom MacArthur of New Jersey and Robert Aderholt of Alabama -- to express support for the bill.

If the bill fails, it wouldn't be for lack of trying on the part of the administration. Trump, Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan have been feverishly wooing lawmakers over the past several days, according to with CNN. Various lawmakers told CNN they'd been having 30- to 45-minute phone calls from Trump officials over the past few days.

Ryan, speaking to a conservative radio host Wednesday morning, said it was possible that additional changes could be made to the bill in an effort to sway members of the GOP who are still on the fence, according to the Washington Post. But he warned that fulfilling some Republican demands would violate Senate budget rules, thereby leaving the bill vulnerable to a Democratic blockade.

Regardless, the Post reports that Ryan remains confident that the bill will pass in the House, saying, "We all made this promise."

Twitter: @JELagasse