In Washington, D.C., House lawmakers advanced legislation Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Energy and Commerce Committee cleared the measure on a 31-23 vote along party lines, capping a hearing that lasted over 27 hours. It followed a similar marathon session in the Ways and Means Committee, which also voted along party lines. This is Texas Republican and committee chair Kevin Brady.
Rep. Kevin Brady: "This is Obamacare gone. This is the first and most important step to giving relief to Americans from this terrible law and to begin the replacement principles of restoring state control and restoring the free market that conservatives, moderates, all Republicans have built consensus around."
House Republicans are moving rapidly to pass their healthcare legislation, with committee markups coming less than two days after the bill was made public.
Democrats objected to the pace of the Republican push, noting it took months of debate to craft the Affordable Care Act in 2009. They say the GOP is ramming through the legislation ahead of a Congressional Budget Office report expected Monday that will assess the cost and impact of the bill. This is Georgia Democratic Congressmember John Lewis.
Rep. John Lewis: "Mr. Chairman, the bill we have been considering today is fundamentally flawed. Tax cuts for the rich, wealthy, and corporations are the priority. The sick, the elderly, the middle class and working Americans are left out and left behind."
The legislation would end the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid by 2020. Under pressure from conservative Republicans, the White House on Thursday pressed lawmakers to sunset Medicaid expansion even sooner. The move could put medical treatment, nursing care and other benefits out of reach for millions of poor and disabled Americans. Meanwhile, several Republican senators questioned whether the House bill has the support to pass the Senate. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton tweeted, "House health-care bill can’t pass Senate without major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast."