News President Trump

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Pass health bill or lose your seats, Trump tells his party

US Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch testifies during the second day of his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill
US Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch testifies during the second day of his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill

Andrew Buncombe in New York

Donald Trump has urged fellow Republicans to rally behind the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare or else risk losing their seats as a result of angry voters.

The president travelled to Capitol Hill to try to cement support for the American Health Care Act, the bill crafted by Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act, passed by Barack Obama and better known as Obamacare.

The bill is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives tomorrow evening. But the legislation has faced intense criticism from both wings of the party.

Conservatives believe it still provides too many "entitlements" to people, while other Republicans, along with Democrats, are concerned that an estimated 14 million people will lose their health insurance next year.

Mr Trump campaigned for the presidency with a vow to replace Obamacare, which he repeatedly said was a "disaster". But as he and congressional Republicans have sought to find an alternative to the Democrats' complicated, hard-won legislation, they have realised just what a challenge it is.

"Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated," Mr Trump said recently.

Mr Trump told fellow Republicans yesterday that they faced losing their seats if they did not back it. "We won't have these crowds if we don't get this done," he said.

He added: "I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don't get this done."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has been the driving force behind the bill, said afterwards: "He was truly spectacular. This is part of the job that he enjoys and excels at - closing the deal."

He said the president had told Republicans they'd made a promise to voters last year to repeal and replace Obamacare. "Now it's time to keep that promise," he said.

Meanwhile, US Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has said "no man is above the law" when pressed on whether Mr Trump could reinstitute torture as an interrogation method.

Mr Gorsuch was answering as part of a two-day confirmation hearing to fill the 13-month vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham suggested Mr Trump might be watching the hearing, and asked Mr Gorsuch what would happen if the president tried to reinstate waterboarding, the banned torture technique he embraced on the campaign trail.

Mr Graham suggested Mr Trump "might get impeached" if he tried to do so.

"Senator, the impeachment power belongs to this body," Mr Gorsuch said, but when Mr Graham followed up on whether Mr Trump could be subject to prosecution, he said: "No man is above the law, no man."

Irish Independent

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