Pence calls on conservatives to support GOP health care bill

Ahead of a key vote on Capitol Hill, Vice President Mike Pence called on skeptical Republicans to get behind the GOP health care bill in remarks to conservative donors and members of Congress Saturday night.

Speaking at the Club for Growth's dinner at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida, Pence said the new Republican plan represented "the kinds of solutions conservatives have been talking about for years," and promised to work with lawmakers to improve the legislation.

"Let me be blunt, we need your help," he said to conservatives of the American Health Care Act, which the House is expected to take up on Thursday.

He addressed a crowd of roughly 140 people, including Reps. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, and Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, leaders of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus that have called for substantial changes to the American Health Care Act before they can support it on Capitol Hill.

"I know there have been concerns," Pence said. "Just know the president and I and the entire administration are listening."

Earlier in the day, Pence, joined by Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, met with small business owners about Obamacare and the Republican plan to repeal and replace the law at Mac Papers Envelope Converters in Jacksonville.

On Friday, President Trump met with members of the Republican Study Committee, a large and influential group of House Republicans, and agreed to adjust the health care proposal to allow states to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients and change the way the federal government transmits Medicaid payments to the states.

Still, members of the Freedom Caucus are pushing for additional changes to address premiums and adjust the proposal's refundable tax credits that would help people pay for insurance.

They also want to phase out the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion before 2020, which moderate Republicans consider a non-starter.

Pence also said the White House would follow through on tax reform and work to roll back Dodd-Frank financial regulations.

While Pence has longstanding ties to the Club for Growth, the free-market advocacy group initially opposed the proposed health care legislation, and was also critical of Trump during the presidential campaign.

On Saturday, Pence argued that the organization and the White House share the same goals.

"We have a pro-growth House, a pro-growth Senate and a pro-growth president of the United States of America," he said.
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