House Republican leaders say they plan to hold a floor vote on the American Health Care Act on Thursday, regardless of the outcome, despite conceding late Tuesday that they currently lack the votes. With all Democrats opposed, Republicans can lose 21 votes and still push the ObamaCare replacement through, but according to The Hill's tally and House Freedom Caucus leaders, there are at least 22 firm no votes, plus six more House Republicans leaning toward voting against the legislation; The New York Times, citing a GOP aide, says as many as 36 Republicans are opposed to the bill or not yet swayed in its favor.
President Trump has thrown himself into flipping enough votes to ensure passage, spending much of Tuesday encouraging, cajoling, and horse-trading with reluctant House Republicans in public and private. Even if the bill does squeak by in the House, six Senate Republicans have said they oppose the legislation as written; three voting no would kill the bill. One of those no votes, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), urged House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday to cut his losses, saying on Fox News he is "strongly, strongly persuaded that it is not going to pass" and thinks "they should cancel the vote because they don't have the votes."
Republicans leaders are still predicting that reluctant members will come around, especially with Trump's ramped-up involvement. "A lot of folks are holding out because they think there will be a better offer," said Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.). "I think he's got to make the case and the point that this is the final offer — take it or leave it." "We're not there yet," a top House Republican tells Politico. "I think we'll get there, especially with Trump working it, but we're not there right now." Trump's approval rating hit 37 percent in Gallup's daily tracking poll on Monday, The New York Times notes, and the AHCA is even less popular at 34 percent, per a recent Fox News poll.