President Donald Trump used a meeting with about a dozen GOP lawmakers in the Republican Study Committee, a 170-member conservative group in the House that has been the source of many of the concerns with leadership’s legislation, to publicly pressure Republicans in Congress to line up behind the bill.
Trump indicated in his remarks that he and members of the Study Committee present had agreed on changes to the bill that ensured “100 percent of the noes are now yeses,” referring to people in the room.
“I want everyone to know I’m 100 percent behind this,” Trump said. “I want everyone to know that the press has not been speaking properly about how great this is going to be.”
“I also want everyone to know that all of these noes or potential noes, are all yeses, every single person sitting in this room is now a yes,” he added. “We made certain changes and very frankly little, although the block grant is very important. Because I want the states to get the money and run their program if they want to run it,” he said, referring to the AHCA’s proposal to turn Medicaid into a per-capita capped block grant to the states.
— CNN (@CNN) March 17, 2017
Of the law the AHCA would replace, Trump was familiarly dismissive.
“Only because everybody knows it’s on its last dying feet, the fake news is trying to say good things about it,” he said. “There is no good news about Obamacare. Obamacare is dead.”
It’s unclear what changes, if any, Trump and the Republicans sitting around him had agreed upon in what Trump described as a process that went “all night long.” On Thursday, the House Budget Committee voted on party lines to add additional cuts to Medicaid in the bill, and for a work requirement for able-bodied people receiving Medicaid.
“You’re going to have bidding by insurance companies like you’ve never seen before,” Trump said. “Plans are going to come out like nobody’s ever seen before”
“So I just want to let the world know I am 100 percent in favor,” he added later. “These folks, and they are tough and they love their constituents and they love this country. These folks were noes, mostly noes.”
“Yes, that’s correct,” Study Committee chair Mark Walker (R-NC) affirmed.
“Yesterday. And now every single one is a yes,” Trump said. Walker did not respond.