House to vote Wednesday on condemning Trump's renewed effort to repeal Obamacare

Democrats rallied to defend Obamacare in front of the Supreme Court Tuesday.

April 2, 2019, 2:43 PM

In an effort by Democrats to keep health care in the headlines, a non-binding resolution condemning the Trump administration's support of a federal lawsuit that could overturn the Affordable Care Act will go to a vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Late Monday night, President Trump punted the health care fight to after the 2020 election, announcing that Republicans would put off any votes until they have unified control of Congress again.

"The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare," Trump tweeted Monday evening. "Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House. It will be truly great HealthCare that will work for America."

Following Trump's tweets, congressional Democrats amplified their criticism of Republicans, rallying Tuesday morning in front of the Supreme Court to promote resolutions calling for the Department of Justice to reverse its position in the Texas v. U.S. lawsuit.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Trump administration’s efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act through the courts “reeks of desperation,” charging the GOP doesn’t have a backup plan to replace the healthcare law.

“Last night President tweeted that they will come up with their plan in 2021. Translation: They have no healthcare plan!” Schumer, D-N.Y., exclaimed. “It’s the same old song they’ve been singing. They’re for repeal; they have no replace. President Trump confirmed that he will hold Americans hostage through 2020 election when it comes to healthcare.”

The House of Representatives is debating a resolution Tuesday to condemn the Trump administration’s support to overturn the law, teeing up a vote on Wednesday on the non-binding measure.

“The American people deserve to know exactly where their representatives stand on the Trump administration’s vicious campaign to take away their healthcare,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

Schumer teased Trump for the sudden about-face, doubting the president has “a magic plan” if he’s reelected.

“When President Trump insists he has a magic plan that we can see if only the American people reelect him, we know it’s just not true,” he said. “Don’t let President Trump fool you, America. Republicans are not the party of health care. They are the party that wants to end your healthcare.”

Since last Thursday, Trump had pointed at a trio of senators -- John Barrasso, Bill Cassidy and Rick Scott -- "to take a look" and "form a really great plan" to replace Obamacare.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

After Republicans failed to repeal and replace the health care law in 2017, despite boasting GOP majorities in both chambers of Congress, those three senators acknowledged the 2019 political reality that replacing the law would require bipartisan support -- a legislative pitch Democrats are uneager to join.

"It's going to need bipartisan support because Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House," Barrasso, R-Wyo., said on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday. "We are absolutely continuing to work on this, realizing that it has to be bipartisan."

"I know it's going to be tough. I look forward to, you know, to seeing what the president's going to put out," Scott, R-Fla., said, punting back to the White House in an appearance Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." "But with Nancy Pelosi in the House, it's going to be tough to get something done."

A spokesman for Cassidy said in a statement, "Whatever is put forward will be a collaborative effort that will help make health care more affordable and accessible, while keeping the power over health care decisions in the hands of patients and taxpayers."

Republicans have also ginned up concern over the progressive pipe dream to enact Medicare for all, another far-fetched gambit that stands zero chance of becoming law with a Republican president and Senate majority.

"My concern is that the biggest threat that I see to the freedom and the economy of this country is this complete government takeover of health care, which is where the Democrats are going, this Medicare for all," Barrasso told NBC.

Last week, in a scramble following the DOJ's announcement, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with ranking Republican members from committees of health care jurisdiction "on making sure we have our health care bill out there."

"We're working on it right now," McCarthy told reporters on Wednesday. "I think health care is an important issue for all Americans. We want to make sure that all Americans have the ability to have greater choice, lower costs and higher quality and that's what we're working towards."

On a Feb. 6 conference call with donors, McCarthy blamed the GOP's national standing with voters on health care for his party's defeat in last fall's midterm elections.

PHOTO: Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. John Barrasso are pictured together at the Capitol in Washington, March 14, 2019.
Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. John Barrasso are pictured together at the Capitol in Washington, March 14, 2019.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE

"Republicans carried the economy overwhelmingly. We carried even immigration. We even carried the social issues. But there was one issue we lost overwhelmingly. It was health care by 66 points," McCarthy said, according to an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post.

But visiting the Capitol last Tuesday, Trump predicted, "The Republican party will soon be known as the party of health care."

After coming up short in the 2017 quest to repeal "Obamacare," a senior Senate Republican member of McConnell's leadership team told ABC News that the GOP conference has zero appetite for another run at the health care law.

Sen. Susan Collins, who was one of three GOP senators to vote to kill the repeal effort in 2017, agreed that the president's renewed interest in repeal left her "very disappointed."

"It seems to me the cart is before the horse here," Collins, R-Maine, said. "If he has some good ideas for improving the ACA or our system of health care in this country then those initiatives need to be put forth first before you try to strike down the entire ACA."

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