Thursday night’s vote on health care a pivotal moment for GOP

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The fate of House Republicans’ health care plan remains up in the air as it heads for a vote in the House later Thursday, the timing of which has yet to be announced.

Despite Wednesday’s late-night negotiations and personal pitches from President Trump, the list of “no” votes against the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is growing.

At least 30 Republicans have said they will oppose the bill in its current form, according to ABC News’ latest whip count, meaning Republicans could fall at least nine votes short. The GOP needs 216 votes for a simple majority to pass the bill in the House.

House Republicans planned to hold a full conference meeting sometime Thursday as a final huddle before Thursday night’s crucial vote. And Trump will make his last-minute sales pitch to conservative House Freedom Caucus members at the White House.

As the clock ticks, the House still awaits the Congressional Budget Office’s new score for the bill, evaluating its budgetary effect, which is expected at some point before the House vote.

A series of meetings on Capitol Hill about the plan went late into the evening, but no deal was reached. The House Freedom Caucus met to discuss potential alterations to the bill’s text and also reached no agreement.

But as House Freedom Caucus members inch closer to achieving changes that could sway them to support the bill, the House risks losing moderates’ votes.

Nearly two dozen moderate lawmakers burned the midnight oil, gathering in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office to hash out the plan. After nearly two hours, most of those lawmakers sneaked out of his office, avoiding the media.

One prominent moderate, Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., the leader of the moderate Tuesday Group, released a statement announcing his opposition to the bill after attending that meeting. Earlier Wednesday, a handful of moderates had already said they would not support the measure.

In a sign of the chaos on Capitol Hill Thursday, Republican leaders abruptly canceled a 9 a.m. conference meeting, catching some members by surprise.

“My party intends to bring forth an agreed-to bill that we will be able to show to the American people, and we will own it,” House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said on the House floor Thursday morning as the chamber debated the procedural rule to bring a bill to the floor later Thursday.

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