The House’s most conservative caucus hopes to force a vote on a clean Obamacare repeal bill in coming weeks through a rare congressional procedure.
The House Freedom Caucus, chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., will encourage members to sign a “discharge petition” allowing a bill similar to the December 2015 repeal of Obamacare—which passed both the House and Senate but was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama—to proceed to a floor vote.
If the petition receives 218 signatures, it will pull a March bill identical to the 2015 repeal of the Affordable Care Act out of committee and straight to a floor vote, a spokeswoman for Meadows said.
The parliamentary rule bypasses obstacles awaiting other Obamacare repeal efforts, in effect resurrecting the 2015 repeal legislation.
The petition, filed July 19 by Rep. Thomas Garrett, R-Va., and 24 other Freedom Caucus members, “discharges” the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health of its duty to consider the bill in full.
Garrett’s petition to revive the clean repeal bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, had to spend a certain number of days in the House Committee on Rules before it could collect signatures. That mandatory waiting period has expired, so the Freedom Caucus planned to begin collecting signatures after the House convened Friday in procedural session.
Several caucus members returned to Washington to sign the petition, and “over the recess we’ll be encouraging Republican colleagues to come sign on,” the Meadows spokeswoman said.
Assuming the petition can garner 218 signatures, it still would need to survive a House floor vote and the sharply divided Senate, which failed to pass a so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare in July, before it could become law.
While many in Congress have said it’s time to move on to other Republican priorities such as tax reform, immigration, and infrastructure, President Donald Trump is still pressing for a win on health care reform.
Trump tweeted Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should get “back to work” on repealing and replacing Obamacare, passing tax reform, and approving infrastructure spending.
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