NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was another busy day on Capitol Hill.
President Donald Trump visited the Capitol Building, pushing the new health care bill to House GOP members in-person. Meanwhile, the president’s Supreme Court nominee wrapped up a marathon day of confirmation hearings.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Trump knocked the meeting out of the park, coming in to “close the health care deal.” The question is: Was it enough to get the votes needed to pass the House on Thursday?
A confident Trump strolled into the Capitol, past reporters who asked whether he could get the votes.
“I think so,” he replied.
Trump later tweeted photos of his closed-door meeting with the House GOP conference.
The president’s goal was to persuade wary Republicans to support the House GOP health care bill.
“It was a great meeting. They’re terrific people. They want a tremendous health care plan, and that’s what we have,” he said. “There are going to be adjustments made, but I think we’ll get the votes on Thursday.”
Trump told Congress members they will lose their seats in 2018 if they don’t follow through on their pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“The president was really clear. He laid it on the line for everybody,” Ryan said. “We made a promise. Now is our time to keep that promise.”
Many Republicans have voiced concerns about the bill, saying it doesn’t go far enough.
Last night, House GOP leaders announced several changes, including a freeze on Medicaid expansion and a state option to require some Medicaid recipients to work.
One change has already swayed two upstate New York Republicans — a provision to shift $2 billion in medicaid costs from New York counties to state government.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was predictably angry.
Supporters of the provision say it would mean significant reductions in the county portion of suburban property tax bills.
“They’ve declared war on New York, and this is just the beginning,” he said Tuesday.
With the vote scheduled for Thursday, the plan faces unanimous Democratic opposition and many remaining Republican opponents.
Meanwhile Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began questioning Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): “One of my Democratic colleagues said it is important to know whether you are a surrogate for President Trump or for particular interest groups. Are you?”
Gorsuch testified he made no promises to anyone about how he would decide cases, including to the president.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “Did he ever ask you to overrule Roe v. Wade?”
Gorsuch: “No, senator.”
Graham: “What would you have done if he asked?”
Gorsuch: “Senator, I would have walked out the door.”
The committee asked him about several hot-button Supreme Court rulings, but Gorsuch refused to say if he agreed with any of them.
“I would be tipping my hand and suggesting to litigants that I’ve already made up my mind about their cases. That’s not a fair judge,” he said.
That wasn’t enough for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“He simply wants to hide his views from the American people,” the senator said.
It was a day of thrust and parry, with Democrats trying to pin Gorsuch down on hot button issues including abortion, with the nominee batting away each of those efforts.
“I’m not going to say anything here that would give anybody any idea how I’d rule in any case like that,” he responded.
Gorsuch said his body of work shows he’s fair and impartial.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on his nomination early next month. House leaders hope a full Senate vote will come shortly after that.