March 21 (UPI) — President Donald Trump is working to convince members of Congress to pass the American Health Care Act while both inside and outside of Washington, D.C.
During a campaign-like rally in Kentucky on Monday, Trump urged Congress to pass the Republican plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama‘s Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, so he can then begin to work on cutting taxes and renegotiating trade deals, such as the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.
“As soon we get the healthcare finished, I’m looking forward to these trade deals,” Trump said, later adding: “We’re going to do something with NAFTA you’re going to be very impressed with.”
The AHCA has been criticized by both Democrats, who cite the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis there would be 24 million more uninsured in a decade under the plan, and some Republicans, who say the AHCA is not doing enough to remove the impact of Obamacare — calling the AHCA “Obamacare Lite.”
One such vocal Republican opponent of the AHCA is Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. While in Kentucky, Trump said he is looking forward to working with Paul on passing tax reform.
“I happen to like, a lot, Sen. Rand Paul. I do,” Trump told the crowd. “I look forward to working with him so we can get this bill passed in some form, so that we can pass massive tax reform, which we can’t do until this happens.”
On Sunday, Paul told ABC News he does not believe the ACHA will pass because “I believe there’s enough conservatives that don’t want Obamacare Lite.”
House Republican leaders said they aim to vote on the AHCA on Thursday. On Tuesday, Trump will head to Capitol Hill in an attempt to increase House Republican support for the AHCA.
House Republican members who support the AHCA said Trump’s business expertise will help pass the bill as they work to amend the bill before presenting it to the House floor.
“He’s been working. He’s the closer,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., told MSNBC on Monday. “He knows how to put this together. He’s got great negotiating skills, and we’re coming together with it.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Trump is “a great closer.”
“He’s the one who has helped negotiate changes to this bill with members from all over our caucus,” Ryan told Fox News. “We have a president who is rolling up his sleeves. … He’s a very quick learner on healthcare.”
Democrats such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have slammed the ACHA.
“The GOP alternative to Obamacare is grotesque and ugly. You don’t throw 24 million people off healthcare and call it ‘healthcare reform,'” Sanders said in a statement.