Lawmakers weigh White House offer to revive health care bill

Overhauling the tax code could prove harder to accomplish than repealing and replacing Barack Obama's health law.

The health care issue generated friction between Trump and some conservative Republicans.

But weeks of early, politically damaging battles over controversial policies and an ongoing probe into his campaign's ties to Russian interference in the election have left Trump with the lowest approval rating of any president since Harry Truman.

Paul, who has urged the Freedom Caucus to hold together in opposition to the original bill, said after a meeting with members of the group Monday that they still weren't zeroing in on a final deal.

But this push, numerous outlets report, comes from the White House.

Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican from Arkansas, said leaders told members on Tuesday that they "continue to discuss" options but that there was "no white smoke coming out of any leadership office that I'm seeing". So, assuming the changes are sufficient to win over the Freedom Caucus, the big question is the reaction of the more moderate members of the Republican conference.

Achieving such sweeping health-care reform would require an unwavering commitment and focus by Trump to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner.

"That's what happens when you have an unpopular president ... popularity scares people", said Ari Fleischer a former adviser to President George W. Bush.

"Some of us will be meeting with him tonight", said MacArthur, a New Jersey Republican.

Ethics lawyers who worked for both Republican and Democratic presidents said Scavino violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits political activity by government employees.

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Meadows established that the White House had not offered legislative text for a deal, but expects text within 24 hours.

But it wouldn't be so good for those who need care. Yet imagine how much more intrusive, expensive, and burdensome Obamacare might have been if President Obama had been able to punish certain congressional Democrats for their reluctance to endorse a more ambitious form of health-care reform, perhaps something closer to a single-payer system.

As for when a plan might be voted on, while some conservatives liked that negotiations were still on going, they did not want to go too fast. Trump has attacked the Freedom Caucus for its stance, calling out several of its members on Twitter.

Trump tweeted on Sunday: "Talks on Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck".

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. and head of the conservative Freedom Caucus, called the administration's new measure for compromise "a solid idea". But the Freedom Caucus has made clear that the next bill must eliminate those policies to get them to vote for it. "It's all about getting the premiums down". Paul was among the most outspoken opponents of the bill, which he derided as "Obamacare lite".

Moderates in the House also appeared optimistic after the meeting but were still unsure whether the G.O.P. could reach a consensus on overhauling the $3 trillion health-care industry.

That angst remains pervasive, with members wondering whether Trump is backing the right kind of bills, the sort of agenda that could lift him and Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterms.

Now that lawmakers have withdrawn the American Health Care Act, Congress must "seize this moment to create a new spirit of bipartisanship" and make "necessary reforms" in existing health care law to address access, affordability, life and conscience, said three USA bishops' committee chairmen.

"I feel pressure, yes, I do: I feel pressure to say no", he said.

  • Ismael Montgomery