measure amid a revolt by mainly conservative Republicans, who were complicating the first major legislative test for the new president by signaling it would not pass without key changes.
Trump himself set the stage, dispatching an aide to a closeddoor meeting of Republican lawmakers to demand a Friday vote.
“The message is tomorrow it’s up, it’s down — we expect it to be up – but it’s done tomorrow,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told the lawmakers, according to congressman Chris Collins.
Mulvaney delivered Trump’s ultimatum.
“If it doesn’t pass, we’re moving beyond health care,” Mulvaney said.
The idea that Trump, who campaigned relentlessly on a pledge to bury Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, would wash his hands of the fight and let Obamacare stand is a startling departure from the party playbook.
But Mulvaney’s blunt take-itor-leave-it approach could be part of Trump’s strategy to get Republican rebels to fall in line.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a champion of the legislation dubbed the American Health Care Act, put on a brave face despite the bill’s hanging by a thread.
“We have been promising the people we will repeal and replace this broken law because it’s collapsing and failing families, and tomorrow we’re proceeding,” he said.
The president and his lieutenants had repeatedly voiced optimism about the bill’s prospects, saying they had made progress convincing doubters to join Trump’s camp.
But the votes were not there. “I am still a ‘no’ at this time. I am desperately trying to get to ‘yes’,” said Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members have demanded changes to the plan before giving their blessing. AFP