Conservatives in Congress met with Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday to discuss the American Health Care Act, the Republican alternative to Obamacare.
“It was the most hopeful meeting that I feel like we have been part of, especially when it’s in a large group like that,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.
“[There was] a lot of positive feedback, not just from the members but in response from the vice president who basically said [that] the RSC and conservative members have impacted this [legislation].”
Pence met with members of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of approximately 178 Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives, to discuss the plan.
A Fox News reporter tweeted that Walker said Pence was receptive to the opinions of Republican Study Committee members.
Pence reportedly told members that “your concerns have been heard.”
In a reversal, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters late Wednesday that he now agrees changes need to be made to the legislation to clear the House, not to mention the Senate.
“Now that we have our score … we can make some necessary improvements and refinements to the bill,” Ryan said, according to The Washington Post, referring to the Congressional Budget Office’s report Monday on the costs and effects of the House GOP’s plan.
RSC Chair Walker says Pence told mbrs "your concerns have been heard." Walker says no sign off yet on Medicaid expansion changes
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) March 15, 2017
Walker told The Daily Signal that he is pleased with the outcome of the meeting.
“Over the last three or four weeks sometimes you feel like it’s a grind to continue to do that. However, if that’s what it takes to produce the best result for the American people, we’re certainly happy to do it,” Walker said.
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) March 15, 2017
Conservatives in both the Republican Study Committee and the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of roughly 40 members in the House, have voiced concerns that the replacement plan is too similar to Obamacare.
“There is a reason why every major conservative organization in the country is opposed to it,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in an interview Wednesday on Fox News.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) March 15, 2017
“There is certainly a reason why five conservative senators and a bunch of conservatives in the House are opposed to the legislation,” Jordan, the former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said. “It doesn’t do what we told the voters we were going to do.”
Conservatives in both chambers have said they are opposed to the legislation because it does not fully repeal Obamacare.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 15, 2017
Walker said that part of his role as chairman of the Republican Study Committee is to ensure that legislation adheres to conservative principles and the concerns of constituents are addressed.
“Part of my responsibility as chairman of the [Republican Study Committee] is to continue to work toward the most conservative piece of legislation that gets us to a yes,” Walker said. “But I do believe that those concerns are in the process of being addressed. At least that is what we heard from the vice president.”
This report has been updated to include Ryan’s decision to consider amendments to the bill.