Politics

Government Funding or Health Bill? ‘I Want to Get Both,’ Trump Says

President’s whim will test often-fractious House GOP caucus

U.S. President Donald Trump welcome’s Italy Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni after he arrived at the West Wing of the White House, on April 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump turned up the heat on congressional Republicans Thursday, saying he wants them to send him two high-stakes bills next week: one to keep the government open and another to overhaul the health care system.

“I want to get both,” Trump said during a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart.

Lawmakers, aides and White House officials have been in negotiations during a two-week recess period about both measures. The funding bill is more pressing, as federal dollars expire next Friday at 11:59 p.m.

Congressional leaders from both parties have expressed confidence that they can wrap up the omnibus spending measure that will extend through fiscal 2017 by that deadline.

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House GOP leaders are reportedly eying a second try at a vote on a revised bill to repeal and replace the Obama administration’s 2010 health care law as soon as next week — but there is no deadline for doing it so soon.

Until Trump’s comment, that is.

It could pressure Speaker Paul D. Ryan and other GOP leaders to schedule both votes next week, significantly testing a House Republican caucus with factions that often have different interests and reasons for scuttling major legislation for ideological reasons.

On the health bill, a major Trump campaign promise, Ryan convinced Trump to pull the bill last month. White House officials initially signaled a willingness to walk away from the matter, then re-started talks with House Republicans.

Trump appeared to get behind what seems to be a compromise revised bill.

“We’re doing very well on health care,” Trump said Thursday, promising it “will be a great plan.”

The president said the GOP compromise measure is still “evolving,” and he expressed a determination to keep working until lawmakers send him something, saying: “There’s never a give up.”

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