'Trumpcare' just passed a big test, but there's trouble ahead

The American Health Care Act, the House GOP’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, passed the House Budget Committee on Thursday, but Republicans may have gotten a preview of the worries to come.

The bill was moved on to the House Rules Committee by a vote of 19 to 17. All of the Democrats on the committee, in addition to three Republicans, voted against moving the AHCA ahead.

GOP Rep. Mark Sanford, Dave Brat, and Gary Palmer all voted against the bill, putting it one vote away from being tied up in the Budget committee.

This is significant because all three representatives are members of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group that has come out against the AHCA.

The Freedom Caucus has taken issue with the AHCA’s tax credits and what they consider a failure to fully repeal Obamacare, as the GOP has promised. Mark Meadows, the head of the Freedom Caucus, said Wednesday night that he has enough votes to block the AHCA from moving past the House.

The ‘no’ vote by the three members of the Freedom Caucus in the budget committee indicates that the conservative group is getting serious about blocking the bill. No GOP members voted against the bill when it was considered by two previous committees.

Meadows also said that he will roll out a package of amendments to the bill to make it more palatable to conservatives and moderates alike.

Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump insisted in interviews on Wednesday that the negotiation process for the AHCA is ongoing and that changes to the bill could be made.

In terms of the AHCA’s next steps, the budget committee can now consider resolutions that will be advanced to the rules committee and full House floor for consideration as amendments.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s original plan for the AHCA was to bring it for a full House vote next week, a promise he backed off of at a press conference on Wednesday.

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