WASHINGTON (AP) – The Republican health care bill, a top-flight priority the party nearly left for dead six weeks ago, headed toward a House showdown vote Thursday. Leaders predicted their prized legislation would pass, a victory that would edge them closer to addressing their long-time pledge to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.
A wafer-thin margin seemed likely on final passage, with opposition expected from every Democrat and more than a dozen Republicans. But after heavy lobbying by the White House and top Republicans and revisions aimed at nailing down support, House leaders pushed toward a final vote that would ship the measure to an uncertain fate in the Senate.
“It’s time to live or die by this day,” GOP leaders told the rank and file at an early morning meeting, said Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla. Others said that at that closed-door session, lawmakers listened to “Eye of the Tiger,” the rousing 1980s song from the “Rocky III” film.
Republicans have promised to erase Obama’s law since its 2010 enactment, but this year – with Donald Trump in the White House and in full control of Congress – is their first real chance to deliver. But polls have shown a public distaste for the repeal effort and a gain in popularity for Obama’s statute, and Democrats – solidly opposing the bill – said Republicans would pay a price in next year’s congressional elections.