From: Chris Johnson
Date: March 17, 2017 at 10:51:48 AM EDT
Subject: Pool Report #3 - RSC meeting
Pool escorted into Oval Office at 10:12 and escorted out at 10:17.
POTUS, wearing a dark suit and striped blue tie, was seated on the east side of the room. VPOTUS was immediately to his right and Rep. Steve Scalise to his right.
Scalise expressed confidence on getting to enough yes votes on AHCA. RSC Study Group Chair Rep. Mark Walker said bill would provide coverage to "indigent" and the sick.
POTUS said the discussion was a "nice meeting" and lawmakers present were "either a no or a maybe," but now "every single person in this room is now a yes." POTUS said that's as a result of meeting and discussions in past few days.
POTUS blamed the press for problems with AHCA, saying the "press has not been speaking properly about how great this is going to be."
POTUS said of AHCA news reports, "I watch. I say that's not the bill we're passing."
Alluding to certain changes with AHCA, including block grants, POTUS reiterated his view "Obamacare is dead." POTUS quoted a Democratic governor of Minnesota as saying Obamacare is "no longer affordable."
But POTUS emphasized that's "nothing to do" with lawmakers in room.
Touting AHCA, POTUS predicted insurance companies bidding "like you've never seen before" and plans "never devised before taking care of people." POTUS said he's "100 percent" in favor of the bill.
After POTUS remarks, repeated questions from a reporter about British intelligence claims were unanswered.
Your pooler didn't hear this directly, but another reporter says she asked which changes were made to AHCA and a lawmaker responded block grants and work requirements.
Pool escorted immediately to Roosevelt Room for VA listening session. It's unclear how delay will affect remaining schedule.
Chief Political & White House Reporter
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