While Republican leaders were busy most of the day Thursday trying to rally House support behind the GOP-proposed American Health Care Act, President Donald Trump met with some of the trucking industry’s biggest names, and their dialogue focused on health care.
“We’re the ones out there moving the economy,” Chris Spear, chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations, told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” after the meeting. Spear said the group had an “outstanding conversation” with Trump.
Trucking is a $725 billion industry, employing around 7.3 million Americans and delivering 70 percent of the nation’s goods. One in 16 jobs in the U.S. goes to a trucker, Spear told CNBC, and in 29 states the most popular job is truck driver.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has severely hurt the industry of late, Spear said. “Rising insurance costs, administrative burdens, lack of choice … the status quo is not acceptable to our industry, with all the people we employ. For us, it’s a jobs issue.”
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President Trump issued an ultimatum on Thursday to recalcitrant Republicans to fall in line behind a broad health insurance overhaul or see their opportunity to repeal the Affordable Care Act vanish, demanding a Friday vote on a bill that appeared to lack a majority to pass.
The demand, issued by his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, in an evening meeting with House Republicans, came after a marathon day of negotiating at the White House and in the Capitol in which Mr. Trump — who has boasted of his deal-making prowess — fell short of selling members of his own party on the health plan.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan emerged from the session and announced curtly that Mr. Trump would get his wish for a vote on Friday. Mr. Ryan refused to answer reporters’ questions about whether he expected the measure to pass.
Although the House Republicans’ closed-door meeting became a cheerleading session for the bill, their leaders braced for a showdown on the floor, knowing they were likely to be at least a handful of votes short of a majority for the health insurance bill and would need to muscle their colleagues to the last to prevail.
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10:30 am: Receives his daily intelligence briefing
11:30 am: Meets with the House Freedom Caucus; Cabinet Room
12:30 pm: Has lunch with Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Nelson Peltz; Presidential Dining Room
3:00 pm: Meets with trucker and trucking industry CEOs