A senior administration official called the Oval Office meeting a “turning point.” But it’s still far from certain that Republicans have the 216 votes needed to pass the bill. Several House Freedom Caucus members emerged from a closed-door GOP meeting Friday morning and said the changes discussed weren’t enough to earn their support. Sources told POLITICO there could be a few more tweaks to the bill, but none that would go as far as the Freedom Caucus has been demanding.
It’s also unclear whether some moderates who were critical of Ryan’s blueprint are now on board. Starting Monday, the president plans to reach out to more centrist Republicans.
But GOP leaders think they’re close to finding what Ryan called the “sweet spot” — a bill that can garner just enough of the far-right while keeping enough centrist Republicans for passage.
“The president laid these [revisions] out and said, ‘Look, with these changes, I’m 1,000 percent behind this bill. I want you to vote for this bill. Can you vote for this bill?’” recalled Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was in the room Friday morning helping Trump whip votes. “And every member in the room said yes, which was significant. …That’s a major, major turnaround and real momentum shifter for where we are. It shows this president’s been willing to roll up his sleeves and get in the middle of a negotiation and actually get people to yes.”