Around 155 arrested in Capitol protests

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican effort to repeal the Obama health law (all times EDT):

7 p.m.

U.S. Capitol Police say they’ve arrested around 155 demonstrators in Senate office buildings as Republicans continue working on legislation to eliminate much of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Arrests of demonstrators opposing the GOP effort have been occurring frequently. Wednesday’s figure was among the largest since the demonstrations began.

The police say they responded at 45 different spots in the three Senate office buildings beginning in midafternoon.

They say the arrests were made after requests to stop demonstrating were ignored. Under the District of Columbia’s laws, it is illegal to demonstrate in the buildings of the Capitol complex.

Those arrested were charged with obstructing public spaces, a misdemeanor. Police say four people were also charged with resisting arrest


5:40 p.m.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican bill erasing but not replacing much of President Barack Obama’s health care law would mean an additional 32 million uninsured people by 2026.

The report from Congress’ nonpartisan budget analyst says the measure would cause average premiums for people buying their own health insurance to double by 2026.

It also says that by that same year, three-fourths of Americans would live in regions without any insurers selling policies to individuals.

The report was released as Senate leaders consider a vote next week on legislation repealing Obama’s law, but not replacing it.


3:50 p.m.

White House officials say they will continue to provide health care “cost sharing” subsidies that help cover deductibles and copayments for low-income consumers this month.

But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the subsidies’ status is “undetermined beyond that.”

Sanders was speaking at a White House briefing Wednesday after President Donald Trump held a lunch with Senate Republicans trying to salvage their stalled “Obamacare” replacement health care bill.

Trump has repeatedly suggested withholding the money to try to force Democrats to negotiate with Republicans in Congress. But his administration has continued to make subsidy payments to insurers from month to month.


3:45 p.m.

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short says it’s not “too little, too late” when it comes to reviving the Republican health care bill.

Short spoke after Trump hosted Senate Republicans for lunch for more than an hour-and-a-half Wednesday.

Short says there was “a general enthusiasm” in the room for recognizing that reforming health care “is not something we can walk away from.” He says Trump urged senators not to leave town for August recess until a deal is done.

Trump’s comments come after the latest GOP health care plan collapsed in the Senate. Trump has launched a last-minute effort to revive it.

Short says Trump would prefer the Senate pass its plan to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” but says he’ll accept a repeal-only plan if necessary.


2:45 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has every expectation that Republicans will be able to begin debate on repealing the health care law next week.

McConnell made the comments to reporters after a White House lunch with President Donald Trump. McConnell said the Senate will hold a procedural vote next week on moving ahead on a straight-up repeal of Barack Obama’s health care law.

In the meantime, Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday evening working with senators.

Trump invited all senators to the White House where he pressured them to act on the legislation before leaving Washington for the August recess.


1:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says senators shouldn’t leave town for August recess unless they act on legislation to repeal and replace the Obama-era health care law.

Trump also says any Republican senator who opposes starting debate on the legislation is saying they are “fine with Obamacare.”

Trump is commenting at the top of a White House lunch with the Senate GOP caucus one day after Republicans derailed a vote on a repeal-and-replace bill.

Trump and Republicans maintain that the current system is failing and must be replaced. But divisions among Republicans have complicated the task.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had delayed the start of the Senate’s August recess by two weeks to give lawmakers time to find consensus on the issue.


8:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says a bill to overhaul the Obama health care law will “get even better” during a White House lunch with Republican senators.

Trump is hosting Republican senators Wednesday after a bill to repeal President Barack Obama’s law collapsed in the Senate this week. Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that GOP senators “MUST keep their promise to America!”

The GOP has promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act for seven years.

Trump says “Republicans never discuss how good their healthcare bill is, & it will get even better at lunchtime. The Dems scream death as OCare dies!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the Senate would vote early next week on trying to move ahead on a straight-up repeal vote.


4:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is making a last-ditch effort to find some way to revive his party’s seemingly failed efforts on the health care bill. He has invited Republican senators to the White House to discuss a path forward.

Trump stayed largely on the sidelines as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell struggled unsuccessfully to round up support to make good on the GOP’s years of promises to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

But with McConnell’s third and final effort — on a repeal-only bill — looking like it, too, had collapsed, Trump urged McConnell to delay a make-or-break vote until next week.

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