Less than 48 hours ahead of Thursday's House floor vote on the GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, some Republican lawmakers were openly worrying about what would happen if the bill goes down in flames.
“It will really make us look bad in the eyes of the public, and this unity we have now—the House, Senate, and presidency—could be hurt in 2018," warned a still-undecided Rep. Peter King (R-NY) following a meeting with President Trump in the basement of the Capitol Tuesday morning. “It’s bad for the whole Republican agenda if we can’t make it on this one. It’ll hurt us on everything going forward. It makes us look like we can’t get our act together.”
King and other lawmakers said Trump made an even more direct warning in the meeting, telling House members that they would be "ripe for a primary" challenge in 2018 if they did not fall in line and back the bill. The Trump administration and GOP leadership offered carrots as well as sticks to wavering and dissenting members, unveiling a package of amendments Monday night designed to assuage the concerns of both moderates and conservatives.
Still, the gambit may fail. Several Republicans publicly declared their opposition to the bill even after Trump's sales pitch, and members of the hardline Freedom Caucus say they have the votes to bring the repeal effort to a screeching halt.
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