(Bloomberg) — House Republicans are facing intense pressure from the White House to vote on their stalled Affordable Care Act change effort this week, but party leaders still don’t know whether they have the votes to pass the American Health Care Act bill.
Conservative and moderate holdouts are still “struggling to get to yes,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, the chief author of an amendment that is reviving hopes for the AHCA bill.
“I think it’s close,” said MacArthur on whether enough votes to pass the bill will be found. “But I think there is a real chance of a vote.”
But several moderate Republicans are visibly frustrated about the renewed push to pass the bill after leaders made changes aimed at winning over conservatives.
“We’ve been through this before,” Republican Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said Thursday. “The business model around here is to load the bill up, make it as conservative as possible, send it to the Senate and have the Senate clean it up and send it back, and the very people who are placated on the first launch won’t be there on the final. And that dog ain’t hunting anymore.”
House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, added that he hasn’t seen “any impact” from the amendment on the bill’s prospects.
The Republican vote-counting team is trying to gauge support for a vote Saturday, according to a Republican aide familiar with the process. Some lawmakers are pushing for a quick vote even as industry groups are starting to weigh in with criticism of the revised measure.
House leaders have put the bill on this week’s House floor calendar.
House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday that there has been “real progress” in winning over skeptics. “We have not yet made any decisions on a vote,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that President Donald Trump “wants a vote when they have 216 votes, and I feel very good about the progress that’s being made to get to that number.”
The text of the bill and a pair of amendments were posted late Wednesday on a website listing bills that may be considered this week on the House floor, but the House Rules Committee hasn’t yet scheduled a meeting that would be needed to prepare for a floor vote.
Saturday would mark Trump’s 100th day in office, although that milestone is more important to the White House than to House leadership, the Republican aide said.
“I’m still holding out for Saturday,” Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said Thursday morning on CNBC.