(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump’s administration continues to push for a vote this week in the House to change the Affordable Care Act, which the president said on Sunday is “in serious trouble.”
Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the Senate Budget Committee sent language on the health bill to the House on Saturday night, as negotiations between Congress and the White House continue.
House members return from their Easter recess on Tuesday and are expected to concentrate on a must-pass bill to keep the federal government funded beyond April 28. Still, Mulvaney said the administration sees no “structural reason” why the House couldn’t also vote on a health care plan this week.
“Health care may happen this week, it may not,” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “We’re hopeful it will.”
Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said the health care vote will more likely come in early May.
“The odds of that are pretty good,” Brat said in an interview on Friday with a Richmond radio station. Also suggesting that timeline was Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that finding a way to vote in the coming week would be “awfully tough.”
Working on Compromises
Brat said if compromises that conservatives and moderates have worked out with the administration materialize when the bill is written, “that gets a lot of us toward a ‘yes,’ along with a couple of other items we’ve been negotiating.”
House Republican leaders and the White House haven’t announced a target date for a vote. But Speaker Paul Ryan said on April 19 that lawmakers were already negotiating “finishing touches.”
Reigniting talk that a vote is imminent risks another embarrassment such as the one in March, when Trump and Ryan abruptly scrapped a vote on an earlier version of a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare because a number of Republicans didn’t support the measure.
But Brat said the divisions between party conservatives such as himself and moderates, which undid the previous effort, are being addressed in a compromise that Vice President Mike Pence has helped broker.