President Donald Trump will speak to House Republicans Tuesday morning at their weekly conference meeting about the health care bill the chamber is scheduled to vote on Thursday, according to a House Republican aide.
The president’s trip to the Capitol comes as several House Republicans, particularly conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus and some moderates in the Tuesday Group, remain uneasy about GOP leadership’s legislation to repeal and partially replace the 2010 health care law.
It also comes at a time that Democratic operatives are increasingly targeting Republicans for any sign of support of the plan.
A recent missive from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee went like this: “In case you missed it, vulnerable House Republicans … are facing intense backlash at home. It’s no surprise that some Republicans are scared and attempting to erase their long-history of supporting the reckless repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”
Trump has been supportive of the bill and helping House GOP leaders whip votes for the measure. He met at the White House Friday with leaders of the Republican Study Committee and had promised some Medicaid-related changes to the bill that have moved some RSC members from opposition to support of the bill. On Monday evening, he will rally in Louisville, Ky., with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell’s home-state colleague, GOP Sen. Rand Paul, said earlier today at a town hall near Louisville that he was heading back to Washington before Trump’s visit to whip his own opposition among his House colleagues.
“I don’t think they understand politics,” he said of supporters of the House bill.
Among Paul’s allies are members of the House Freedom Caucus, the GOP faction that has long been a thorn in the side of GOP leaders.
But it appears that GOP leaders have still not secured the 216 votes needed to pass the measure in the House (lower than the usual 218 threshold because of five vacancies in the chamber). Trump’s speech to the conference Tuesday will be the first time many members of the rank and file are hearing from the president directly about his support for the health care plan.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this story.