House GOP leaders aren’t ready to hold a vote this week on theirstalled health-care bill, despite intense pressure from the WhiteHouse to deliver on a long-promised repeal of Obamacare.

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“We’ve been making great progress, and when we have the voteswe’ll vote on it,” Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Californiatold reporters late Thursday.

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Republicans vote-counters had been weighing whether to hold avote this week, after conservative holdouts endorsed the billfollowing recent revisions. But a number of moderate Republicansremained opposed to the measure, and leaders were also distractedby the need to assemble votes for a stopgap measure to fund thegovernment. The current spending bill runs out Friday.

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When it comes to the health bill, conservative and moderateholdouts are still “struggling to get to yes,” Representative TomMacArthur of New Jersey, the chief author of an amendment that isreviving hopes for the GOP’s health-care bill, said earlierThursday.

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“I think it’s close,” said MacArthur on whether enough votes topass the bill will be found. “But I think there is a real chance ofa vote.”

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Several moderate Republicans are visibly frustrated about therenewed push to pass the bill after leaders made changes aimed atwinning over conservatives.

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“We’ve been through this before,” Republican RepresentativeCharlie Dent of Pennsylvania said Thursday. “The business modelaround here is to load the bill up, make it as conservative aspossible, send it to the Senate and have the Senate clean it up andsend it back, and the very people who are placated on the firstlaunch won’t be there on the final. And that dog ain’t huntinganymore.”

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House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, addedthat he hasn’t seen “any impact” from the amendment on the bill’sprospects.

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Some lawmakers, along with the White House, have been pushingfor a quick vote even as industry groups are starting to weigh inwith criticism of the revised measure.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday that there hasbeen “real progress” in winning over skeptics. “We have not yetmade any decisions on a vote,” he said.

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters thatPresident Donald Trump “wants a vote when theyhave 216 votes, and I feel very good about the progress that’sbeing made to get to that number.”

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The text of the bill and a pair of amendments were posted lateWednesday on a website listing bills that may be considered thisweek on the House floor, but the House Rules Committee hasn’t yetscheduled a meeting that would be needed to prepare for a floorvote.

100th day

Saturday marks Trump’s 100th day in office. “I’m still holdingout for Saturday,” Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, saidThursday morning on CNBC.

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Other undecided Republicans “are so close to yes that I’m veryoptimistic whether the vote is tomorrow or Saturday or next week,the votes will be there to actually pass this,” House FreedomCaucus Chairman Mark Meadows said Thursday on Bloomberg TV. He saidlater Thursday that they don’t yet have enough votes to pass thebill.

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The most recent changes to the bill have won the formal backingof the conservative Freedom Caucus, but some moderates remainopposed. A Bloomberg News count shows at least 16 Republicansopposed to the revised measure. The GOP can only afford to lose 22votes from its side and still guarantee passage.

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Meadows said Friday that he was confident that the legislationwould receive a vote in “the coming days” as more members ofCongress understand the revisions.

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“I don’t know that there will be necessarily a lot offundamental changes,” he said on MSNBC. “This will get done -- it’sa matter of weeks, not a matter of months.”

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The Congressional Budget Office has told Democrats that it won’thave an updated estimate of the cost of the revised measure or howit would affect insurance coverage this week or next week,according to Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff for House MinorityLeader Nancy Pelosi.

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The American Medical Association, American Hospital Associationand AARP, the lobbying group for senior citizens, said they opposethe revised Obamacare measure.

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“The proposed change would still result in millions of Americanslosing their health-care coverage and could make coverageunaffordable for people with pre-existing conditions,” the AMA saidin a statement.

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The hospital group said allowing states to get waivers from arequirement that insurers cover so-called essential health benefits“could leave patients without access to critical health servicesand increase out-of-pocket spending.”

State ‘flexibility’

MacArthur, who defines himself as a centrist, disputed criticismthat his amendment would be a setback on coverage for people withpre-existing conditions.

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“What my amendment does, first and foremost, is it protectspeople with pre-existing conditions, while at the same time givingstates some flexibility so that they can bring costs down,” hesaid.

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MacArthur brushed off criticisms from fellow moderates that hisamendment is designed to draw conservative support at the expenseof centrists’ concerns. Dent, the senior leader of a bloc of Housecentrists, said Wednesday the amendment is “an exercise inblame-shifting” onto moderates, should the bill fail.

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“I don’t think in those terms, at all,” said MacArthur. “Weeither win together, or we all lose.”

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Ryan also said that Republicans need to deliver on their sevenyears of promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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“I think people’s seats are at risk if we don’t do what we saidwe’d do,” he said when asked about political risk to moderatesvoting for the bill. “If you commit the sin of hypocrisy inpolitics” that’s a bigger risk to losing an election, Ryansaid.

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