WASHINGTON, D.C. — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Wednesday praised the efforts of his team to repeal the embattled ObamaCare program despite criticism from many of of his own colleagues.
Mocking the replacement plan presented by Paul as “ObamaCare 2” and “ObamaCare Lite” many hard core conservatives are calling for a complete start over on the project, a move that Ryan calls unnecessary.
“We are in the fourth quarter of the House passing this bill which is the fourth committee—that’s when a lot of negotiations intensify near the end of the process,” Ryan told Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/22/ryan-voices-confidence-on-obamacare-repeal-as-conservatives-call-to-start-over.html). “This is called legislating—we have to broker compromises to make sure we draft legislation that can actually pass.”
“The president has been bringing members down and talking to members and closing the deal,” Ryan said. “This is so encouraging—we’ve never seen this kind of presidential engagement with our members before—President Trump and Vice President Pence are rolling up their sleeves.”
But conservatives say they are less than impressed.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, declared on Wednesday that at least 25 of his colleagues would reject Ryan’s health care plan, exceeding the 22 Republican “no” votes required to block the legislation.
“I can tell you that opposition is still strong—they don’t have the votes to pass this tomorrow,” Meadows said. “We believe that they need to start over and do a bill that actually reduces premiums.”
Ryan has scheduled a vote on the bill to be held this Thursday, but many Republicans are calling on Ryan to postpone the vote and go back to drawing board.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Wednesday during his daily press briefing that the president is confident that Republicans will work out a compromise.
Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday that he remains optimistic the bill will pass.
“We’ve got a promise to keep. We promised the American people we would repeal and replace this law. We have to do it for real, not for fake. For real,” Ryan said. “A real promise kept is one where we actually use the only process we have to actually repeal this law and so I believe at the end of the day, members are going to say ‘I am going to keep my promise to the people who voted for me, who sent me into office.’”