Republican House members said Mike Pence told them in the meeting that Trump would sign executive orders related to the law on his first day in office — but offered few details about how, or when, they'll actually replace the law.(DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Wednesday, January 4, 2017, 11:31 AM
WASHINGTON — Vice President-elect Mike Pence rallied the troops to repeal Obamacare Wednesday morning, promising swift action from President-elect Donald Trump even while he offered few specifics to a meeting of House Republicans on how he and Trump would like them to proceed.
“Step one will be to repeal Obamacare but as the President-elect said today … it’s important that we remind the American people about Obamacare, that the promises that were made were all broken and I expect you’ll see an effort,” he told reporters at a press conference with House Republican leadership Wednesday morning. “And second of course is to begin an orderly transition to something better.”
Republican House members said Pence told them in the meeting that Trump would sign executive orders related to the law on his first day in office — but offered few details about how, or when, they’ll actually replace the law, even as President Obama rallied congressional Democrats to defend the law elsewhere in the Capitol.
Pence told lawmakers that “what can be done with a pen and a phone can be undone with a pen and a phone,” Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) told reporters, referring to executive actions relating to Obamacare.
Trump took to Twitter to caution Republicans against moving too swiftly to replace Obamacare, lest they end up owning some of the problems endemic in the overall health care system that voters have mostly blamed Democrats for ever since Obamacare passed.
Donald Trump took to Twitter to caution Republicans against moving too swiftly to replace Obamacare.(TRACIE VAN AUKEN/EPA)
“Republicans must be careful in that the Dems own the failed ObamaCare disaster, with its poor coverage and massive premium increases… like the 116% hike in Arizona. Also, deductibles are so high that it is practically useless. Don't let the Schumer clowns out of this web,” Trump said as part of a Wednesday morning tweetstorm. “Massive increases of ObamaCare will take place this year and Dems are to blame for the mess. It will fall of its own weight - be careful!”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) argued that congressional Republicans are on the same page as Trump, even as he and Pence refused to offer any details on what kinds of executive actions Trump would take in his first days as President on the law, or how House Republicans would replace the law.
“We want to make sure that as we give relief to people … we do it in a way that doesn’t pull the rug out from anybody,” Ryan said.
As Pence rallied the GOP, President Obama did the same with his party elsewhere in the Capitol, telling a joint meeting of House and Senate Democrats not to “rescue” Republicans by helping them replace Obamacare, and suggested calling any reforms “Trumpcare.”
President Obama has rallied congressional Democrats to defend the law elsewhere in the Capitol.(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Afterward, House and Senate Democrats sought to rally together to defend the law, making a show of strength after their meeting with Obama. Newly minted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), flanked by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and much of the congressional Democratic leadership, took aim at Republicans’ lack of a detailed plan.
“The Republican plan to cut health care wouldn’t make America great again, it would make America sick again, and would lead to chaos,” Schumer warned. “We stand here united, united, we are a united caucus … and we are united here in opposition to Republicans' attempts to make America sick again.”
“The Republicans say repeal and replace. The only thing that has going for it is alliteration. They have no replacement plan,” Pelosi said. “To repeal and then to delay is an act of cowardice, it says ‘we don’t know what we’re doing.’”
But holding together Senate Democrats if Republicans actually come up with some plans to change the law may be easier said than done. Ten Democratic senators facing reelection are from states Trump won, and at least one — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — refused to attend Obama’s meeting because it wasn’t bipartisan.Send a Letter to the Editor
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