Trump Gives Ultimatum to Republicans: Vote on Health Care On Friday or Keep Obamacare

Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney made clear Thursday evening that President Donald Trump is done negotiating on the hotly-debated health care bill and wants a vote on Friday.

And, if the president doesn’t get a vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, he will move on to other priorities, Mulvaney said according to a source in the room during the tense talks with GOP members. A senior administration source confirms to NBC News the “very definitive, very clarifying” message from the president and the administration’s intention to move on, should the health care bill fail to move forward, to other matters such as tax reform, trade and border security.

If the bill does not pass, the president would see it as “people in Congress breaking their promises to their constituents to repeal and replace Obamacare” even with a Republican president in the White House,” the source told NBC News.

Republican leadership got the message.

“For seven and a half years, we have been promising to repeal and replace this broken law because it is collapsing and failing families,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday evening. “And tomorrow we are proceeding.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, a member of the whip team, said he believed Trump’s ultimatum is “credible” and predicted the bill’s passage during Friday’s vote.

He added he isn’t worried about how the Senate would respond.

“To me, the Senate’s irrelevant in this, if they want to do something they should do it, they should write their own bill, they should take our own bill and amend it,” Cole said. “This isn’t about them, this is about whether we’re a team that can govern or not, and I think we can.”

Trump’s latest salvo comes after House Republican leaders abruptly postponed a planned vote on the GOP health care bill Thursday as they struggled to find sufficient support to pass it. GOP lawmakers had previously been told procedural votes on the bill will still be held tonight and that a full vote on the measure could take place Friday.

The move to delay the vote came after House conservatives said there was no deal struck on the bill following a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House Thursday. According to the NBC News vote count, GOP leaders were still at least eight votes short of winning enough backing for passage.

The president’s latest posture came as news to Rep. Mark Meadows R-North Carolina, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, who earlier told reporters that there was no deal after the meeting, but added he was still hopeful one can be struck.

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SOURCE: LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, ALEX MOE and HALLIE JACKSON 
NBC News