VP-Elect Mike Pence Huddles With Republicans on 'Obamacare' Plans

The Indiana governor is a familiar face in the Capitol.

ByABC News
January 4, 2017, 2:55 PM

— -- Back on his old stomping ground, Vice President-elect Mike Pence rallied House Republicans behind plans to roll back "Obamacare."

In a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning, Republicans discussed their future legislative effort to repeal parts of the law — without offering any details about a replacement, according to members and sources in the room.

As President Obama discussed defending the Affordable Care Act with Democrats on the other side of the Capitol, Pence told Republicans the effort to repeal and replace it will include quick executive actions and long-term legislation, sources said.

"It will literally begin on Day One," Pence told reporters after the meeting. "Before the end of the day, we do anticipate that the president-elect will be in the Oval Office, taking action to both repeal executive orders and also set into motion through executive action policies to implement promises that were made on the campaign trail."

Pence suggested the quick actions would help ensure an "orderly transition" to the forthcoming GOP replacement without disrupting coverage for millions of Americans.

He stressed the need for cohesive messaging around the GOP effort — that the incoming White House will have to explain why the law needs to be changed — and the need to underscore publicly that Democrats own "Obamacare" and its shortcomings.

"It's a string of broken promises," Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told reporters of the ACA.

Asked about Donald Trump's tweets warning Republicans to be careful with their repeal, Ryan said Trump and Hill Republicans are on the same page.

"We want to make sure that as we give relief to people from 'Obamacare,' that we do it in a transition that doesn't pull the rug up from anybody," Ryan said.

Republicans expect Pence, who has been guiding Trump's transition efforts, to be an intermediary between lawmakers and the White House and to play a similar role as then–Vice President Dick Cheney, who frequented Senate Republican weekly luncheons and his office in the Capitol during George W. Bush's administration.

Pence told Republicans that, like Cheney, he'll have an office on the House side of the Capitol, in addition to the office he'll receive in the Senate as vice president, according to members and sources in the room for today's meeting.

Pence last met with Hill Republicans in November, when he told the House GOP conference to "buckle up" for Trump's legislative agenda.

His visit today comes one day after Trump called out House Republicans on Twitter for trying to overhaul the Office of Congressional Ethics on the first day of the 115th Congress.

After Trump's tweet, bad headlines and calls from constituents and outside groups, Republicans reversed course and dropped the proposal from a rules package the House approved Tuesday evening.

ABC News' Katherine Faulders and Ali Rogin contributed to this report.

Related Topics