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Take It or Leave It: White House Gambles, Forcing GOP Health Care Vote Friday

03-24-2017
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WASHINGTON – After conservative House Republicans refused to strike a deal to repeal and replace Obamacare Thursday, the White House has decided to go with a risky take-it-or-leave-it approach.

But Friday afternoon, House lawmakers and aides said the current health care bill still did not have enough votes to pass. 

President Trump's push for a make or break vote came after a big setback for Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, when Republicans failed to reach an agreement over their health care replacement bill.

The breakdown began after the White House would not agree to demands by the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and soon even moderate Republicans started jumping ship, killing plans for a Thursday night vote on the bill.

Now the president has chosen to abandon negotiations, demanding a make-or-break vote. He's reportedly threatening to leave "Obamacare" in place and move on to other issues if Friday's vote fails.

President Trump called out the House Freedom Caucus for allowing Planned Parenthood to continue if they don't vote for his bill. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, however, took exception to that charge. Watch his response below.

The ultimatum was presented to GOP lawmakers behind closed doors Thursday evening by Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney.

"'Negotiations are over, we'd like to vote tomorrow and let's get this done for the American people.' That was it," Rep. Duncan Hunter of California said as he left the meeting, summarizing Mulvaney's message to lawmakers.

And if the vote fails, Obamacare "stays for now," Hunter said.

The Freedom Caucus Refused to Budge

"No deal," said Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. earlier in the day after a White House meeting with him and more than two dozen conservative Republicans.

Before the announcement of a forced vote, Meadows seemed hopeful that negotiations would continue and a compromise could be reached.

"The president's engagement is unparalleled," Meadows said, noting President Trump was reaching out to moderates and conservatives.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., was one several lawmakers who opposed President Trump's plan to repeal Obamacare. Watch the video below for the pro-life congresswoman's explanation on why she changed her mind and decided to support the legislation.

But some skeptical conservatives, like Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., were refusing to back down.

"Unless constructive changes are made to this 'Republican welfare bill,' I will be a no vote," he said Thursday.

"The American people expect us to reduce premium costs through the passage of this legislation," he said. "This legislation, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation and according to the Congressional Budget Office, actually increases health care premiums 15-20 percent in 2017 and 2018, not decreases it, which means it's going the exact opposite direction of what the American people want."

"On the other hand, it is also a massive welfare bill. Quite frankly, it is the largest Republican welfare plan in the history of the Republican Party," he said.

Another conservative, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, previously voiced his concerns to CBN News.

"Look, we're united on repeal – Republicans are. But right now, some of the 'replacement' and some of the things they're putting in the bill in the leadership plan we don't think is consistent with what we told the voters we're going to do," he said.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus argues the bill won't do enough to lower health care costs. For them, it's a missed opportunity to replace Obamacare the right way.

"We didn't tell the voters we were going to repeal Obamacare, but we are going to keep some of the Obamacare taxes. I know I didn't tell them that," Jordan said.

Twenty-two Republican "no" votes would prevent the bill from passing. And a source told CBN News Wednesday at least 27 GOP members were planning to vote "no" on the health care bill.

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