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Just when you thought “Trumpcare” was dead, it appears the American Health Care Act is coming back from the grave. But they will run into a myriad of roadblocks, not the least of which is the legislative calendar.
New talks have heated up among members of the House GOP conference and the White House, in an attempt to revive the legislation that was pulled from the floor in an embarrassing gambit for Republicans last month.
According to several reports Monday night and Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence has been working with members of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus to satisfy their demands with a new version of the AHCA.
But while Republicans will run up against ideological battles – conservatives wanting to totally repeal Obamacare and moderates wanting to preserve certain protections – there is also a practical matter of timing.
Congress will begin a two-week Easter recess next week, meaning a bill would have to be crafted and brought to the floor before Friday or it would be delayed until after the break.
Upon returning from the break, lawmakers will have to deal with avoiding a government shutdown before funding runs out on April 28.
Negotiations over government funding will have to begin shortly after lawmakers return from the break to avoid a shutdown. And the debate over is sure to be contentious and somewhat resemble the initial battle over healthcare, with conservative Republicans fighting moderate Republicans on the size of a funding bill.
Republicans’ other option is to get the AHCA ironed out, moved through the House process and voted on in four days. But House Speaker Paul Ryan said talks were in the “conceptual” stage Tuesday morning.
And, to add to it all, White House Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he wants to have a massive tax reform bill on Trump’s desk by the August recess.
There are 48 legislative days on the calendar before that recess.