Republican members of the House of Representatives told reporters that they were confident that the American Health Care Act would pass through their chamber Thursday afternoon.
Republicans held a closed-door meeting Thursday morning where leaders told members that the bill was going to pass, but by a comfortable margin. Rep Louis Gohmert (R-TX-01) said that while they may not get a unanimous vote, most of the party will be voting for the bill. Another member said that they have at least 218 yesses and more undecideds could convert.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) told reporters that, “We have the votes, so, yes, we’ll pass it!”
Other members said that they are excited about the opportunity to finally vote on a campaign promise they’ve been making for seven years. Rep. Mia Love (R-UT-4) said that she is thrilled that she’ll be able to go back to her district at the next recess and tell her constituents that the House members did what they said they would do.
Once the bill passes, the senate will likely produce its own version of the bill. The two bills will be debated in conference committee and the product will be again voted on by both houses. Should the final bill pass both the House and the Senate, it will go to the president for his signature.
The original bill was forced through committee and failed to come to a vote in the House. House Freedom Caucus President Mark Meadows (R-NC-11) is largely credited with pulling together the separate republican groups to create the consensus legislation that will be voted on Thursday.
Amendments to the bill that brought in “yes” votes include the removal of the congressional exemption, funding and protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and waivers for states to opt out of mandatory “essential benefits.”
Some members said that while the bill isn’t a full repeal, it is the best bill possible and the remaining repeal will happen in additional steps.