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House panels approve ACA de-funder drafts

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The House Budget Committee is now in charge of the American Health Care Act draft.

Members of both the House Ways & Means Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved their versions of the AHCA draft with strict party-line votes.

Ways & Means members voted 23-16 for their version of the Affordable Care Act de-funding measure, and Energy & Commerce members voted 31-23 version.

Related: House panels debate American Health Care Act draft

The committees fended off amendment after amendment.

The mood at Energy & Commerce was more business-like than yesterday.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is the new chairman of the committee, and he showed impatience while trying to get efforts to mark up the AHCA draft started Wednesday.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, today praised Walden’s work as chairmanship.

“This has literally been a baptism of fire,” Barton said.

Barton proposed, and later withdrew, an amendment that could have made the draft more appealing to some more conservative House Republicans.

The amendment could have blocked states from starting to use ACA Medicaid expansion funding after 2018, or two years earlier than in the original AHCA draft, which was released to the public Monday. The amendment also could have cut other Medicaid funding support.

Barton said he believes the amendment could cut federal spending by $82 billion to $100 billion over two years. Current federal government estimates show the government is on track to provide about $4 trillion to $5 trillion of funding for Medicaid over the next 10 years.

Barton said he was withdrawing the amendment because of a deal the leader of the committee had made with the Democrats.

The House Budget Committee is now in charge of identifying any amendments that did get approved, reconciling any differences between the two committee drafts, and forwarding the combined draft on to the House Rules Committee.

The House Rules Committee will be in charge of setting the rules for bring the measure to the House floor.


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