The White House is quietly seeking to pressure senators to support the GOP health care bill with a network of grassroots and pro-life organizations.
President Donald Trump’s legislative affairs team has asked a number of conservative groups to score next week’s vote — or judge members and their re-election campaigns based on whether they support it. They have told the groups they want to keep pressuring members, two people familiar with the conversations say, even if the vote fails next week.
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Leading the conversations has been Paul Teller, a former aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) who has been serving as the main liaison to conservatives in the White House.
Roughly 10 to 12 groups are expected to meet with White House aides Friday afternoon and later announce they will pressure GOP holdout senators, two people familiar with the planning said. West Wing officials and others outside said to expect a mix of social and fiscally conservative grassroots groups.
Among the groups expected is Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group that will be urging Republicans to support a procedural vote to begin debate and either the repeal-and-replace bill or just repeal only.
SBA List sent a letter to senators Thursday urging them to take action.
“The GOP Congress must move forward to send a bill defunding Planned Parenthood and mitigating the damage of Obamacare to President Trump’s desk for his signature,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The first step is voting for the motion to proceed to the House-passed bill which replaces Obamacare abortion funding with health assistance that does not include abortion coverage.”
White House officials are privately skeptical the bill will pass next week — but say they will keep pushing to repeal the law even if the vote fails. “The president wants something to happen,” one of these people said. “He’s tired of nothing happening. He wants movement.”
Burgess Everett contributed to this report.