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GOP Health Care Vote Could Complicate Funding Talks

Minority Whip advises caucus to go against spending bill if health care vote comes to floor

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is telling his fellow Democrats to vote against a stopgap spending measure if Republicans bring a health care bill for a vote this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is telling his fellow Democrats to vote against a stopgap spending measure if Republicans bring a health care bill for a vote this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If House Republicans press for a vote this week on a revised health care legislative proposal, it could unravel delicate negotiations to avoid a government shutdown. 

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer on Thursday morning advised his Democratic caucus to vote against a one-week continuing resolution if Republicans bring their health care bill to the floor this week.

The Maryland Democrat said in a statement that he would not support the stop-gap funding measure expected to come to the House floor this week before government funding runs out at midnight Friday because Democrats want any heath care repeal and replacement plan off the table.

“If Republicans pursue this partisan path of forcing Americans to pay more for less and destabilizing our county’s health care system — without even knowing how much their bill will cost — Republicans should be prepared to pass a one-week continuing resolution on their own,” Hoyer said.

A Democratic aide said Hoyer called House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday to let him know.

Meanwhile, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that other problems persist with negotiations on spending measures.

“More progress needs to be made on some of our priorities and we continue to be concerned about the poison pill riders that are in the bill,” Pelosi said, citing policy riders concerning abortion and financial regulations.

“Some of my members do not want any CR. They think this is plenty of time and they’re not going to vote for the CR, but depending on where we are on the bill, some will,” she said.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, in the midst of rounding up support for both a funding solution and the health care vote, wasn’t amused.

“I would be shocked that they would want to see a government shutdown,” the Wisconsin Republican said, noting that the reason the negotiations are still ongoing is because Democrats are “dragging their feet.”

“Periodically, they haven’t even been showing up for the negotiations,” Ryan said of the minority party. 

But even without Democratic votes, Ryan said he believes the House can pass the one-week CR.

“I’m confident that we’ll be able to pass a short-term extension,” he said.

Pelosi seemed ready for a counterpunch.

“When they say something about us, they are projecting their own views,” the California Democrat said of Republican criticism of her party’s negotiating tactics. “When [President Donald Trump] is saying something, he is saying, ‘This is what I would do.’ He is projecting his own bad intentions.” Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to complain about the Democrats’ negotiating tactics.

Pelosi explained that the Democrats “long ago” decided that the only reason they would vote for a short-term CR is if they had an agreement and needed more time to finish drafting it. At the moment, they do not have an agreement, she said.

“We still have outstanding areas of concern — Puerto Rico, disaster assistance … and then we have the poison pills,” she said.

Pelosi said recent rumblings that Republicans are hoping to use the same-day rule authority for both a one-week continuing resolution and for their health care repeal bill doesn’t help. A same-day rule allows legislation to be brought up the same day it is introduced.

“They’re mixing apples and oranges here,” she said.

The ball is in the GOP’s court, Pelosi said, noting that she believes they’re prepared to pass their one-week CR. “I assume that they have the votes to pass their extension,” she said.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.Contact Rahman at or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter

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