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Trump celebrates health vote win with jubilant Republicans

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Declaring it “an unbelievable victory,” President Donald Trump delayed his first trip home to New York as president to celebrate House passage Thursday of legislation undoing much of former President Barack Obama’s health law, a top campaign promise and a long-sought GOP goal.

Trump celebrated with jubilant Republicans during a hastily arranged appearance in the Rose Garden, where they exulted in the passage of their replacement health care bill, which squeaked through the House by a vote of 217-213.

Trump saluted the bill as “a great plan and I think it will get even better,” saying more than once — “Make no mistake: this is a repeal and replace of Obamacare.”

Republicans bused in from Capitol Hill for the victory lap, an unusually early celebration for the passage of a bill through just one house of Congress. The legislation, which faces sharp Democratic opposition, now heads to the Senate where it faces an uncertain fate.

But Trump said he was “so confident” that the measure would pass the Senate and vowed that premiums and deductibles would come down.

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 04: President Donald Trump (C) congratulates House Republicans after they passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing ObamaCare, during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House, on May 4, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“People are suffering so badly with the ravages of Obamacare,” said Trump, whose West Wing staff was eager for the appearance of a victory after an uneven first 100 days in office. A joyous Trump at one point even turned to the representatives lined up behind him and, suggesting the victory was especially impressive for a novice politician, exclaimed “Hey, I’m president! I’m president! Can you believe it?!”

House leaders came through with the votes to give Trump a major political win more than a month after Republicans’ first attempt to pass a health care bill went down in a humiliating defeat. House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose leadership was questioned when the first bill failed, cautioned that passage was “just one step but an important step” and suggested that the “stakes are just too high” for the bill to fail in the Senate.

Known as the American Healthcare Act, the bill has yet to receive a price tag from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and is opposed by a number of physician and health care groups, including the American Medical Association, amid concerns it could strip millions of Americans of their coverage, including those with pre-existing medical conditions.

The developments in Washington pushed back Trump’s first-time meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull by several hours. The leaders also were to speak at a New York dinner commemorating the 75th anniversary of an important World War II battle.

Trump and Turnbull spoke by telephone earlier Thursday and were looking forward to meeting later, the White House said.

Trump, a native New Yorker, only received 18 percent of the vote in his hometown in last November’s presidential election and his longtime high-rise home has been the site of dozens of demonstrations. Multiple protests were planned across Manhattan on Thursday during his visit.

Trump and Turnbull were expected to discuss North Korea’s missile testing and security and economic issues, as well as Turnbull’s deal with Obama for the United States to resettle up to 1,250 mostly Muslim refugees from Africa, the Mideast and Asia who are housed in immigration camps on the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The agreement was a source of friction when Trump and Turnbull spoke by telephone shortly after Trump took office Jan. 20. The conversation made headlines, and Trump later tweeted about the “dumb deal.” But Vice President Mike Pence assured Turnbull during a visit to Australia last month that the Trump administration will honor the deal, but “that doesn’t mean we admire the agreement.”

Trump campaigned against immigration, including by Muslims, and was enraged by the agreement.

The ties between the U.S. and Australia were reinforced during the Battle of the Coral Sea, when both countries’ warships and fighter planes battled the Japanese from May 4-8, 1942, forcing the Japanese navy to retreat for the first time in the war.

Trump and Turnbull were set to mark the 75th anniversary of that battle with speeches at a dinner aboard the USS Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier that fought in World War II.

Manhattan is where Trump made a name by transforming himself from real-estate developer into a celebrity businessman and now president During the campaign, Trump would fly thousands of miles back to New York City to sleep in his own bed, leaving the impression that he would make frequent trips home after he became president.

But he hasn’t set foot in the city since leaving on Jan. 19 for Washington to be inaugurated into office the following day. Trump said in an interview last week that he so far has avoided returning to the city because the trips are expensive for the government and would inconvenience New Yorkers.

His revised schedule was to take him straight from a waterside heliport to the Intrepid, docked on the Hudson River and relatively isolated from the rest of the city. The change will likely keep many protesters from ever seeing Trump or his motorcade.

Trump has received some criticism for spending about half of his weekends as president at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate. Trump’s wife, Melania, and son, Barron, live at Trump Tower most of the time while the 11-year-old finishes the school year.

The president was not expected to spend the night there, though he could drop in before going to his golf club an hour away in Bedminister, New Jersey. Trump last visited the New Jersey club during the presidential transition.


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  • Kevin Rahe

    It’s clear that the ACA was designed to fail by putting our health care system into overdrive and avoiding measures that would actually address the core problem with health care in this country – the high cost of actual health care services. We should be thankful that Congress has saved us from what was destined to be a lot of grief for a lot of people.

    That said, I’m sure that this measure doesn’t go far enough in addressing the problems that led to the health care crisis in the first place, either. The first thing we need to do is get the 4th party – employers – out of the health care equation. Part of this measure clears the way for that to happen, but Congress and Trump need to follow through and finish the job.

      • Kevin Rahe

        Monopolies always leave consumers on the short end of the stick, whether the monopoly is on the supply side or the consumers side.

  • steve thomas

    What the country has needed badly for many years has been pricing regulation of prescription drugs, some medical procedures, and some medical devices like the Epi-pen, There is no justification for the outrageous cost to consumers. None

  • Shiloh's Mom

    Leave it to the AP to once again insert Trump-bashing content which is completely irrelevant to the subject of this article. They hate him so much they just can’t resist including such snotty and snarky comments such as “Trump only received 18 percent of the vote in his hometown in last November’s presidential election and his longtime high-rise home has been the site of dozens of demonstrations”, as well as criticizing him for his sleeping arrangements, for heaven’s sake. How utterly ridiculous. What do those statements have to do with the ACA bill? The mainstream media also continues to offer us “fake news” such as “concerns it could strip millions of Americans of their coverage, including those with pre-existing medical conditions.” It is a completely false statement. Trump has stated again and again that pre-existing conditions WILL NOT be a factor in maintaining or getting insurance by ANYONE, and the “millions stripped of their coverage” is also a false statement. With the ACA millions of people will not be “stripped of their coverage”, but will be able to CHOOSE not to be covered and will no longer be penalized for doing so. Once again the far left media, an arm of the Democratic party who has claimed for years they are the party of tolerance, love, and peace, shows its extreme hypocrisy by their inability to tolerate ANYTHING about Trump or a conservative point of view. They spew extreme hatred, derision, and vile, vulgar, and mocking comments to the POTUS. Their complete and utter cluelessness at the double standards of their behavior is nothing short of astounding.

    • Rose

      I noticed that too. An article that’s supposed to be about the house vote on healthcare was filled with little digs and jabs at Trump that were in no way related to the story. Even the one that made it sound like he snuck into the city the back way just to avoid protestors, instead of him trying to reduce the cost and inconvenience to the people of New York.

      • steve thomas

        Anything that has a byline or credit by the AP or CNN that deals with Republicans, and especially Trump are going to at least be misleading and more often flat out liberal propaganda. I think that labeling them with the term “fake news”, would be a compliment.

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