Pence makes last-minute health care push
Vice President Mike Pence is taking his health care pitch on the road in a last-minute effort to garner support for legislation that wary Republican senators have been hesitant to support.
The vice president will travel to Cleveland Wednesday to deliver remarks at a sheet metal manufacturing company on the need to repeal and replace Obamacare — part of a push to save a GOP bill in critical condition after the Congressional Budget Office estimated it will leave 22 million more uninsured by 2026 than current law.
Pence will meet with small business owners beforehand to hear how they’ve been negatively impacted by Obamacare.
Pence, who served in Congress from 2001 to 2012, is in health care whip mode as he shuttles back and forth from Capitol Hill, and his efforts this week mirror those he made when the House voted on the health care bill. Tuesday found him at a weekly policy lunch with Republican senators — which he attends regularly — in a clear attempt to win over wavering members.
The White House invited the entire GOP caucus over on Tuesday afternoon.
Asked about the bill’s future as he arrived on the Hill, Pence said “lots of good discussions” were underway but only gave a “we’ll see” when asked if the bill would make it to the floor without enough support.
In the evening, Pence is set to host Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Mike Lee of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and James Lankford of Oklahoma at his home for a dinner to further lobby for their support. Cotton, Sasse and Lankford have all said they are undecided on the bill. Lee will vote against the motion to proceed with the current legislation, but noted he is “open to negotiation,” an aide told CNN Tuesday.
The bill needs at least 50 votes to pass, and in the end, Pence could be the tie-breaker.