White House, Lawmakers Adrift Over Reviving Health Bill

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During a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said there was no set timetable for a new replacement bill but said he was optimistic that Republicans from different wings of the party were finally speaking to each other.

"The Freedom Caucus continues to play Lucy with the football and keeps moving the goal posts", said Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., the first member of the House to endorse Trump.

But they are downplaying the chance that those fights result in a government shutdown, saying even if they don't win all the battles, there are enough other must-pass bills later this year to stick them on. But while Trump was tweeting attacks, White House officials wondered if they could shape a deal around the concept of federalism - that is, allowing states to apply for waivers from the ACA mandates.

Conservative groups and the Freedom Caucus have been working to rehab their reputations publicly after Trump blasted them on Twitter for scuttling the AHCA, with some aiming to shift blame to moderate Republicans for the standoff.

The flurry of discussions culminated late Tuesday with a meeting in the House basement among key factions of the Republican conference, including the conservative Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday Group, with Pence, Mulvaney and Priebus also attending.

Meadows said "there's a whole lot of things we have to work out in terms of differences".

To tackle the biggest overhaul of the USA tax code since the Reagan era quickly, House Republicans need to avoid the political fault lines that sank their healthcare bill, partly by having conservatives on board.

A Republican leadership aide told the newspaper convincing members of the Freedom Caucus to support the bill could lose votes from moderate Republicans in Congress.

Conservatives outside of Congress said Wednesday that efforts to pass an overhaul of the nation's health-care system in the House had foundered again, after a series of meetings on the Hill produced legislation that the hard-line House Freedom Caucus could not support.

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Later on Tuesday night, Pence met with leaders of all the Republican House caucuses in the Capitol's basement in order to work out the apparent discrepancies in what they had been told about the new bill by the White House. Originally, the new White House plan called for eliminating almost all the so-called Title 1 insurance regulations under the ACA.

It's not just that many House Republicans are still probably more afraid of a primary challenge than of losing to a Democrat in 2018. "We've got time to figure this out". But while leaders said the tweak showed momentum for the legislation, it appeared that larger divisions over the bill's content have yet to be bridged. After meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, Sen. Lower insurance premiums, Meadows said, "has been, will be, always will be" the primary objective. But conservatives counter that other provisions in the GOP plan, specifically high risk pools funded run by states but seeded with federal money, would essentially back fill the removal of those regulations, should states opt out.

'And I think left to their own devices, the members of the committee in a bipartisan way can do that, ' she said.

"Look, the president would like to see this done", White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday, adding, "I'm not going to raise expectations".

Ryan said: "What we have to do is find consensus and use sort of a bottom-up organic process".

Walker said there was "great consensus" on high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions, but he didn't go into detail.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan echoed the sentiments of the House Freedom Caucus members, speaking at a WisPolitics event in Washington, according to the Washington Examiner.

"We've got a couple months at least", the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday. "It goes counter to the promises of more than 200 members of the House".

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