Republicans in Congress return to Washington this week with a familiar to-do list, as the White House pushes for a vote in the House on a GOP health care overhaul bill, and lawmakers push to approve a deal on a giant spending plan that would avert a government shutdown on Friday night.
Last week, the story was the same – as Congress approved a one-week stopgap budget to keep the government running to give more time for talks – but House Republicans were unable to find enough support for a House vote on a GOP measure that’s designed to make major changes in the Obama health law.
When last we saw House members on Friday morning, it didn’t look that promising on health care, as Republicans divisions persist, despite calls to action by President Donald Trump.
“I believe we are down to just a handful of votes,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), a key ally in the House of President Donald Trump.
Collins, who is supporting the GOP health care plan, freely admits that a number of his less conservative Republican allies in Congress are not thrilled about the GOP plan.
“New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania Republicans are not Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida Republicans,” said Collins, who is trying to argue to fellow Republicans that the GOP plan is “not as onerous or draconian as they may think.”
As of now, the GOP health care bill is not on this week’s legislative schedule in the House.
“I don’t know when it’s going to happen,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the head of the more conservative House Freedom Caucus. “I’m still talking to members.”
While the President went on Twitter Sunday morning to again push for action on the Obama health law, supporters of Obamacare were again issuing a call to lobby Congress, in hopes to staving off this latest GOP push.
“This is a make-or-break week for Zombie Trumpcare,” said Topher Spiro, a top official with the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress.
The goal here is pretty simple for House Republicans – just get the GOP health care bill approved, however possible – and send it to the Senate.
While that health care debate rages, lawmakers are also waiting to see the final product of months of negotiations on a budget plan that would fund Uncle Sam through the end of September.
Once again this week, if the Congress can’t approve a deal, there’s the threat of a government shutdown on Friday night.
This time there is even more incentive to get that work done, as the House is scheduled to leave Washington on Thursday, for a ten day break.
Health care. Government shutdown. Stay tuned.