HEALTH­CARE BILL

New Straits Times - - World -

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

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