Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRight scrambles GOP budget strategy Mark Mellman: History’s judgment Conservative lawmakers met to discuss GOP chairman’s ouster MORE‘s (R-Wis.) office told a meeting of congressional leadership offices on Monday that the Speaker is not part of a deal to get ObamaCare fixes passed before the end of the year, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMoore gets boost from Bannon in final days of campaign Bannon rips Romney for Moore criticism: ‘He’s still bitter’ Right scrambles GOP budget strategy MORE (R-Ky.) made a commitment to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRight scrambles GOP budget strategy Mark Mellman: History’s judgment Overnight Health Care: Ryan’s office warns he wasn’t part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger MORE (R-Maine) that he would support passage of two bipartisan ObamaCare bills before the end of the year, a promise that helped win her vote for tax reform.
However, Ryan’s office told a meeting of staff from the four top congressional leadership offices on Monday that he has not made that same commitment, raising further questions about whether the ObamaCare bills, already opposed by House conservatives, can pass the House.
Ryan’s office did not go so far as to say it opposed the bipartisan bills, the source said, and it is still possible the measures could pass before the end of the year. The Senate is expected to add the measures to a government funding bill later this month, which would put pressure on the House to accept it or else risk a government shutdown.
Collins also got a commitment from President Trump to support the bills, which could help get them to passage.
One of the measures in question, from Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: Ryan’s office warns he wasn’t part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger US trade deficit rises on record imports from China Ryan’s office warning he wasn’t part of deal on ObamaCare: source MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDems push for more money for opioid fight Overnight Health Care: Ryan’s office warns he wasn’t part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger Ryan’s office warning he wasn’t part of deal on ObamaCare: source MORE (D-Wash.), would fund key ObamaCare payments to insurers for two years in exchange for additional flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules. The other bill, from Collins and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Health Care: Ryan’s office warns he wasn’t part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger Ryan’s office warning he wasn’t part of deal on ObamaCare: source Overnight Health Care: Funding bill could provide help for children’s health program | Questions for CVS-Aetna deal | Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill MORE (D-Fla.), would provide funding known as “reinsurance” that helps pay for the costs of sick ObamaCare enrollees with the intent of bringing down premiums.
Collins hopes that these two bills would make up for the premium increases caused by repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the tax bill. Some experts have disputed that argument, saying more funding than what is proposed would be needed.
A Ryan spokeswoman pointed to the Speaker’s comments on the Alexander–Murray bill at a press conference on Tuesday. Ryan was asked if he opposes the bill and whether he still thinks repeal and replacement of ObamaCare is the best path.
“Well of course I think that’s the best way we can go, but we’re going to have continued discussions with our members here in the House and across the aisle about the best way forward,” Ryan said. “We think health care is deteriorating. We think premiums are going up through the roof, insurers are pulling out and that’s not a status quo we can live with.”
Conservative House Freedom Caucus leaders said last week that they opposed adding those ObamaCare bills to a funding measure, saying they are simply propping up the health-care law.
In addition, Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeRyan’s office warning he wasn’t part of deal on ObamaCare: source Overnight Finance: GOP to reduce tax relief by 0B to win over deficit hawks | Republicans eye two-week spending bill | Fed official urges caution on digital currency | Security of auditing system under scrutiny Republicans pursue two-week spending bill MORE (R-Okla.), a leadership ally, said on Monday that he did not think the Alexander–Murray bill could pass the House.
“The package that’s put together today is just not sufficient to get the votes,” Cole said. “You will not get the votes here. And we shouldn’t be passing something if you get 50 Republican votes and 180 Democratic votes. That’s not the way to pass something in the House that you control.”
Cole said the measure would need “something that materially changes ObamaCare, materially lowers the cost that’s driving up health care for everybody.”
Collins, for her part, on Monday told reporters she is not concerned that the ObamaCare fixes were not included in a stopgap funding bill being voted on this week. She said she expects the measures to be in the next funding bill later in the month.
“I suspect it will be in the next one,” she said.
This post originally appeared on The Hill