Republicans are working hard behind the scenes to come up with a way to follow through on their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, but lawmakers say they are nowhere close to reaching a deal.
Vice President Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and budget director Mick Mulvaney went to Capitol Hill on Monday night to meet with members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and reportedly offered a compromise to try to revive the bill.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) told reporters the plan floated by the White House would allow states to apply for a federal waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services exempting them from certain Obamacare mandates, the Washington Post reported.
Some states could request to opt out of current insurance requirements -- like coverage of mental-health care, substance abuse treatment, maternity care, prescription drugs and more -- or a provision that bars insurers from charging the sick more than the healthy.
But lawmakers leaving the GOP's weekly conference meeting on Tuesday were uneasy about the idea.
"That’s not what we promised. We didn’t promise we would keep all the power at the federal government and maybe dole out a little permission," said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), a member of the Freedom Caucus. "We said we would return the power to where it belongs."
WATCH | "I want so desperately to reach a deal," Gohmert said. "Too many people are hurting, but we're not there yet."
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) said he didn't feel there was any clarity on the path forward on health care.
"What I’m looking for from my conference this morning is some message, some energy that I get that we’ve got an idea of something that could bring more people from the right and from the left to 'yes' without doing something that blows up the process for one group or the other," Womack said.
Womack told reporters that he didn't House Republicans wouldn't make the same mistake again, and would wait to get everyone on board before introducing new legislation.
"We can’t try again and fail. There will not be a try again effort unless it is certain that we have the votes to pass it," he said.
WATCH | "I didn't get any vibe this morning that 'Hold the phone, we may be close to a deal here,'" Womack said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) echoed that idea during a press conference.
When asked about the GOP's timeline on healthcare, he told reporters they are in the "conceptual stage."