White House press secretary Sean Spicer late Thursday characterized the delay of an expected House vote on legislation to repeal Obamacare as a move for transparency, rather than as a bid to buy more time to lock down enough votes to ensure the bill’s passage.
“We could have continued through the night and voted in the middle of the night, that’s what Democrats have done in the past,” Spicer told Fox News’ Eric Bolling.
“That’s not what we were going to do,” he continued. “We wanted to do this in broad daylight tomorrow, when every one of the American people can see not only the bill that we put online days ago for everyone to read, but actually watch the debate take place and watch the vote go down.”
Over the past several days, House leadership and the White House have attempted to lure in skeptics of the bill from both conservative and moderate factions of the House with various amendments, as well as with commitments for the additional steps in the repeal-and-replace process that they say will follow the initial bill.
Conservatives were promised Wednesday that the Senate’s version of the bill would eliminate a provision that would require insurers to cover Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits. Moderates were promised, among other things, that the bill would expand tax credits for older Americans, a move that resulted in a fresh CBO score projecting the amended legislation would do less than the original to reduce the deficit.
Spicer emphasized that the current bill was the only option Republicans had to replace Obamacare.
“This is the train that’s leaving the station,” he said. “This is the choice that we were waiting for. This is the pledge that people have made to the American people.”
This piece has been updated.