EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) – Thursday marks what could be the biggest test of Donald Trump’s presidency so far.
Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the GOP replacement for Obamacare, but Republican leadership is having a hard time getting the votes needed to pass it. Several House Republicans are still holding out, and Democrats have said they will not help repeal the Affordable Care Act.
President Obama signed that into law seven years ago today. Critics say Obamacare has led to a spike in premiums and fewer choices for Americans.
At Rep. Erik Paulsen’s office in Eden Prairie, a small group of protesters are picketing against the repeal of Obamacare. Rep. Paulsen has vowed to vote for the repeal of Obamacare, but the same can’t be said for all Republicans.
The latest numbers show at least 31 House Republicans are expected to vote against their party’s own health care bill.
President Trump has his work cut out for him as he tries to win that support back from his own party ahead of the crucial health care vote. The White House is maintaining a confident tone in the face of uncertainty.
“There is no Plan B. There is a Plan A and a Plan A. We’re going to get this done. We’re going to get it done, plain and simple,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
Some conservatives won’t support the bill because it’s not a clean repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislation. Moderates note that pushing up the timeline to roll back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion would leave too many without insurance and some also say it just doesn’t do enough to control rising premium costs.
House Republicans who plan on voting yes Thursday are staying optimistic, while others who oppose the measure are standing their ground.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re very optimistic that if we work around the clock between now and noon that we’re going to be able to hopefully find some common ground,” Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina said.
“The most embarrassing thing for the Republican Party is repeat the mistakes of the Democratic Party. Pass a bill that’s not really sound, pass it because somebody tells you you have to, not understand how it works,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said.
Thursday’s vote really is a game of numbers. Republicans need 216 votes for it to pass out of the House, meaning they can lose no more than 21 votes.
Back in Eden Prairie, Representatives Paulsen and Jason Lewis do appear to be voting in favor of the repeal. It is unknown how Representative Tom Emmer will vote.