U.S. President Donald Trump (Reuters)
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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s effort to roll back Obamacare gained momentum on Wednesday as Republican leaders scheduled a vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday on newly revised legislation.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy expressed confidence the bill would pass and several moderate Republican lawmakers who previously objected to the bill said they could now support it.
A vote was expected as early as midday Thursday, with lawmakers planning to leave town later that day for a week-long recess.
Late on Wednesday, the bill cleared a procedural step allowing it to advance to the House floor.
Even if a narrow majority in the House approves the bill, it still faces a steep climb in the Senate, where only a few defections could kill the effort.
Keen to score his first major legislative win since taking office in January, Trump threw his own political capital behind the bill, meeting with lawmakers and calling them in an effort to cajole their support.
Trump, whose Republican party controls both the House and Senate, is seeking to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Aides said he worked the phones furiously.
Wavering moderate Republicans had worried that the legislation to overhaul President Barack Obama’s 2010 signature healthcare law would leave too many people with pre-existing medical conditions unable to afford health coverage.
But several Republican sceptics got behind the bill after they met with Trump to float a compromise proposal that is still expected to face unanimous Democratic opposition.
The legislation’s prospects brightened further after members of the Freedom Caucus, a faction of conservative lawmakers in the House who played a key role in derailing the original version of the bill last month, said they could go along with the compromise. (Reuters)