The White House is trying to reassure voters that its plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act is on track to make it through Congress, even if there’s still a chance it could be delayed.
But even as the administration’s efforts to keep the plan alive are under intense scrutiny from Democrats and Republicans alike, the plan still faces some hurdles that the administration will need to overcome if it’s to become law.
The president has said he will sign a repeal bill, but it remains unclear when or whether he will act on it.
At least two Republican senators, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine, have expressed reservations about the administration on the matter.
On Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney reiterated the administration “won’t be delaying the repeal of the Affordable [Care Act] and will be taking action as soon as possible to ensure that every American has health insurance,” as well as other important steps, such as the roll-out of the individual mandate, the law’s penalty for not having health insurance.
The White, who has already signalled that he will keep pressure on Congress to approve his health care plan, said on Friday that the president “will continue to pursue the repeal and replace effort.”
Carney, in a conference call with reporters, did not offer any details about the legislation, nor did he address how long it would take to repeal.
But he did note that the President and his advisers have met regularly with House Republicans to discuss the repeal effort.
“Our priority has always been to repeal and replaced this horrible law,” Carney said.
“The President has said that the time for delay is over, and I think the House is listening.”
Despite the White House’s efforts, Republicans have vowed to use any and all procedural tools to block the repeal.
On Friday, Speaker Paul Ryan said he would use the House to delay the legislation’s passage, and he vowed that Republicans would “work tirelessly to pass the repeal” as soon at as possible.
“If it takes until after Labor Day to get the bill done, we’ll do it,” Ryan told reporters.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ryan’s comments.
Even if Republicans succeed in passing the repeal, there’s little chance the measure will pass the Senate.
The Senate is currently controlled by Democrats, and the chamber is unlikely to allow the repeal to proceed without Democratic support.
Republicans are already under pressure to act on the bill as soon and as soon only as the repeal is officially signed into law by the president, and not before.
That would require the White to come up with a legislative solution to the ACA’s problems before Congress can pass a bill, and Republicans are expected to offer some of the best possible ideas on how to accomplish that goal.
The White said that “everybody” in the administration agrees that the repeal should be done as soon it’s possible.
“This administration has never said this would be easy,” Carney told reporters Friday.
“We’re doing this because we have to get it done.”
There are some caveats, however.
The ACA allows the government to delay any legislation that gets “substantially less popular than the original legislation,” so there’s a high possibility that Republicans will use procedural tricks to delay it.
Also, the repeal has to pass through the Senate, which is controlled by a Republican majority.
And if a repeal does pass the House, there are some legal issues that would need to be resolved.
A White House spokesperson did not respond to the Politico request for clarification on the legal challenges to the repeal in the Senate or the legal hurdles it faces in the House.
Some Democrats have been pushing for Republicans to delay its implementation.
In a statement, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.
Va.) said he had “serious concerns” about the repeal being passed without “procedural reforms” that would give people health insurance coverage.
“I also worry that repealing this terrible law could cause insurance premiums to skyrocket, and leave millions without coverage,” he said.
Another challenge is that Republicans control the Senate by a narrow margin.
The current Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, has said Republicans would not be able to pass a repeal of this magnitude without the help of Democrats, including the Senate’s “supermajority.”
The Republican majority would have to work hard to pass any measure that passed the House on its own without Democratic votes, but Schumer’s remarks suggest that could not be ruled out.
Schumer is also under pressure from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pass health care legislation, which would likely require some Republican support.
A House vote on the repeal could come as early as April, and if Republicans manage to pull it through the House with support from Democratic support, it would likely pass.
There are still many hurdles that need to clear