Updated on May 3 at 11:37 a.m. ET
Republican leaders are now hoping an extra $8 billion is enough to get their stalled American Health Care Act across the House floor.
The GOP effort suffered what appeared to be a mortal blow on Tuesday when Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, a 30-year Hill veteran and the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, announced his opposition to the Obamacare repeal bill because it weakened protections for people with preexisting conditions. But by Wednesday morning, Upton had flipped back to supporting the bill after President Trump and House leaders agreed to adopt an amendment providing another $8 billion to help people with those conditions afford care.
“His amendment that he’s working on is something that nobody has a problem with, and it’s actually helping,” Speaker Paul Ryan said in a morning appearance on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Upton, he added, was “trying to be constructive and improving this bill so that people who are undecided can feel better about supporting this bill.”
Republicans had hoped to vote on the revised plan as early as Thursday before the House breaks for a weeklong recess. But Ryan has said he would only bring the bill to the floor if it had the 216 votes it needs to pass, and it isn’t there quite yet. “We’re getting extremely close,” he said. The leadership can lose no more than 22 votes from Republicans, and media whip counts list about 20—including Upton—in opposition, with more than a dozen others either leaning “no” or undecided. Upton worked on his amendment with Representative Billy Long of Missouri, a Trump ally who surprised Republicans earlier in the week by coming out against the bill. After a meeting with Trump, they emerged from the White House to announce they would support the GOP bill.