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Published: Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 11:03 AM
With President Donald Trump leading the last minute lobbying and deal making with conservative GOP lawmakers, Republican leaders are planning for a showdown vote next Thursday on the House floor, arguing now is the time to move forward with plans to overhaul the Obama health law.
"I want everybody to know that I'm a hundred percent behind this," President Trump said to reporters as he met with a group of conservative lawmakers who were seeking changes to the health bill.
Mr. Trump made clear that he had successfully twisted some arms in an effort to get to the 216 votes that will be needed for approval in the House.
"Every single person sitting in this room is now a 'Yes,'" Mr. Trump declared.
Afterwards, there were signs that some conservatives were ready to stand with the President.
"We appreciate the opportunity to discuss with the president the best ways forward to repeal and replace Obamacare," said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), the head of the Republican Study Committee in the House.
The White House meeting was all part of an effort by GOP leaders to push reluctant Republicans to get on board with the health care overhaul measure, which has run into some resistance among both conservatives and moderates in the party.
"There are people from the middle and from the right, who have various concerns," said House Speaker Paul Ryan, as he argued to fellow Republicans that it's the time for action on health care.
Among the changes being discussed, were changes in Medicaid, including a work requirement for able-bodied adults.
While that deal may have brought on a few more votes, it still seemed like GOP leaders were short of a majority at this point.
"We have to have a bill that will pass," Speaker Ryan added.
But there were some Republicans still resisting both the Speaker and the President, arguing the GOP health plan doesn't go far enough.
"It doesn't repeal Obamacare," said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). "It remains a disaster."
There were also ominous signs from a small group of more conservative Tea Party Republicans, in the House Freedom Caucus.
"I remain firmly committed to repealing Obamacare," said Rep. Jim Jordan.
The GOP bill still hasn't been finalized; Republicans will try to do that in coming days.