The House Republican bill to repeal Obamacare hangs in a delicate balance as concerned GOP lawmakers publicly come out to express their opposition to the legislation.
The bill needs a simple majority — or 216 — to be approved in the House. With no Democrats expected to support the proposal in its current form, House Speaker Paul Ryan can afford to lose no more than 21 Republicans.
According to CNN’s ongoing whip count, 12 House Republicans have flat-out said they will vote against the current version of the bill, while nine more have indicated they are likely to oppose it. That’s 21 lawmakers opposed to or leaning against the bill. Plenty of other GOP lawmakers have expressed serious concerns, but their intentions are unknown. They will not be included in the count of lawmakers leaning against the bill.
The chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows, claimed Wednesday night that there were enough “no” votes to tank the bill. One source estimated that roughly 25 members of the Freedom Caucus are currently in the “no” or “lean no” column. Ryan, meanwhile, declined to say whether the bill could pass the House without changes.
Multiple GOP leadership aides declined to respond to Freedom Caucus estimates on the level of opposition to the bill, and indicated leaders planned to move toward a vote on the House floor next week.
House GOP leaders find themselves in a tough position because of the range of concerns that rank-and-file members have raised. Conservatives say the legislation simply doesn’t go far enough in gutting Obamacare, vehemently oppose provisions like the refundable tax credits; moderate Republicans, meanwhile, are deeply wary of the proposed changes to Medicaid.
Changing the bill to appease one faction of the GOP conference could lead to more defections from another.
Adding to the bad news is the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis this week that some 24 million more Americans would be uninsured over the next decade under the House GOP bill than under Obamacare.
The following whip count continues to be updated as news develops.
The current number of votes needed for a House majority is 216. Ryan can afford to lose 21 Republicans. 20 are on the record leaning against it.
1. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida) — “I plan to vote no.”
2. Tom Garrett (Virginia) — “Right now I’m a no. I’m a firm no.”
3. Mark Meadows (North Carolina) – “What is conservative about a new entitlement program and a new tax increase?”
4. Rob Wittman (Virginia) — “I do not think this bill will do what is necessary for the short and long-term best interests of Virginians and therefore, I must oppose it.”
5. Dave Brat (Virginia) — “I can’t support.”
6. Andy Harris (Maryland) — Opposes in its current form
7. Darrell Issa (California) — Bill “not in a form I can approve of”
8. Tom Massie (Kentucky) — “Stinking pile of garbage”
9. Ted Yoho (Florida) — “I could not support the bill as it is right now.”
10. Justin Amash (Michigan)
11. Raul Labrador (Idaho)
Leans no or has very serious concerns
1. Trent Franks (Arizona)
2. Jim Jordan (Ohio) — Very critical. Introduced “clean repeal” bill
3. Louie Gohmert (Texas) — “Just one thing is not going to fix it”
4. Mark Sanford (South Carolina) — “Lean no”
5. Walter Jones (North Carolina) — Said Congress needs to slow down.
6. Mo Brooks (Alabama)
7. Leonard Lance (New Jersey) — “I do not want to vote on a bill that has no chance of passing over in the Senate.”
8. Claudia Tenney (New York) — “Just looking at what the CBO report came out with, and some of the issues in New York, I’m leaning toward voting no.”
9. Gary Palmer (Alabama) — “In my opinion, the current bill does not answer this crisis.”
10. Tom McClintock (California) — “I don’t think it’s defensible or sustainable for us to be giving massive tax cuts to investors while we have not assured that the tax system is supporting low-income families as they try to reach out for new health care insurance in the new market we are creating.” (On MSNBC, 3/16) *McClintock is on the House Budget Committee and voted for the bill advancing on 3/16*
Update: The graphic has been updated to more accurately represent the number of lawmakers leaning against the bill.