Trump makes final push for health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican health care overhaul (all times local):

8 p.m.

President Donald Trump is making his final pitch for the GOP health care bill at a House Republican fundraiser.

Trump says Thursday’s vote is “crucial” for the Republican Party.

He’s putting his full weight behind the plan, saying the bill “ends the Obamacare nightmare” and returns health care decisions back to the states and American people.

He says, “These are the conservative solutions we campaigned on and these are the conservative solutions the American people asked us as a group to deliver.”

Trump adds, “it’s time to get busy, get to work and to get the job done.”

Trump is speaking at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s March Dinner at the National Building Museum.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the event raised a record-breaking $30.1 million for the group.


7:45 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is urging his party members to vote for the GOP health care plan on Thursday.

Ryan is introducing President Donald Trump at a National Republican Congressional Committee fundraising dinner.

He says, “Thursday is the big day.”

Many House members are rejecting the GOP plan, which has been derided by some as “Obamacare lite.”

But Ryan says Republicans “have been working years for this moment” and says, “Let’s stop and think about that.”

He says Republicans need to deliver on the promises they ran on and vote to end “this Obamacare nightmare once and for all.”


2:15 p.m.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has become the latest Republican senator to go on record against the GOP health care bill that is nearing a vote in the House.

In a statement Tuesday, Cotton said he cannot support the legislation even after the latest changes by House leaders. And Cotton added he doesn’t think it can pass the Senate. He urged the House to slow down and continue to refine the legislation.

Cotton said the changes to the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act “do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making insurance unaffordable for too many Arkansans.”

Republicans can only afford to lose two of their own party members in the Senate, in which they hold a 52-seat majority.


11:05 a.m.

The anti-tax group Club for Growth is targeting 10 House Republicans with television advertising this week urging them to oppose the GOP health care bill.

The ads, airing only through Wednesday, call the House bill “Ryancare,” after House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and “a bad idea doubling down on disaster.”

The ads are intended to spur calls of opposition to Darrell Issa of California, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Don Bacon of Nebraska, Leonard Lance and Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, John Kakto and Peter King of New York, Charlie Dent and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Rob Wittman of Virginia.

The members are in potentially competitive districts for re-election next year.

The ad script reads: “Don’t fall for fake repeal. Vote no on Ryancare.”


10:40 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is evoking President Donald’s Trump’s reputation for deal-making as he describes the president’s closed-door meeting with House Republicans.

Ryan said, “President Trump was here to do what he does best and that is to close the deal.”

Trump put his political capital on the line Tuesday morning by traveling to Capitol Hill to make his pitch for the bill.

The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday. If it passes, the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.


10:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is warning House Republicans that their seats in Congress could be at risk is they fail to pass the GOP health bill.

Trump addressed Republican lawmakers in a closed-door meeting at the Capitol Tuesday.

Afterward, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina relayed Trump’s message to reporters.

Jones said Trump’s message was, “It’s an important vote. If you don’t pass the bill there could be political costs.”

The House is scheduled to vote on the bill on Thursday.

Jones was unpersuaded. He said he remains firmly against the bill.


9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he thinks House Republicans have enough votes to pass the GOP health bill.

Trump entered a closed-door meeting with House Republicans in the basement of the Capitol Tuesday morning. As he passed reporters, one asked if the bill would pass. Trump gave a thumbs-up sign and said, “I think so.”

The House is scheduled to vote on the bill on Thursday. Failure to pass it would be a major setback just a two months into Trump’s presidency. Success could give Republicans to tackle other big issues including a major revamp of the tax code.

The bill would replace President Barack Obama’s signature health law. Even if it passes the House, it faces an uncertain fate in the Senate.


3:16 a.m.

President Donald Trump is rallying support for the Republican health care overhaul by taking his case directly to GOP lawmakers.

His morning trip to the Capitol comes two days before the House plans a climactic vote that poses an important early test for his presidency.

As they brace for that big vote, top House Republicans are unveiling revisions to their bill in hopes of nailing down support.

Late Monday, party leaders released 43 pages worth of changes to a bill whose prospects remain dicey. Their proposals were largely aimed at addressing dissent that their measure would leave many older people with higher costs.

Included was an unusual approach: language paving the way for the Senate, if it chooses, to make the bill’s tax credit more generous for people age 50-64.

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