Vice President Mike Pence to visit Little Rock, lobby for health care plan (Updated)

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 586 views 

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R)

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Little Rock Friday, according to the Republican Party of Arkansas. The vice president will make remarks at Little Rock Tours and Travel at 2:30 p.m.

Details on the event are limited, but it is open to the public, and doors open at noon. Guests will park in the parking lot of Horace Mann Magnet Middle School at 1000 East Roosevelt Road and be shuttled to the event site.

The visit comes as the Trump administration is trying to build support for the American Health Care Act, the bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

A vote is planned for later today, but the bill does not appear to have the votes for passage, according to national news reports, and it’s unclear whether the vote will be held. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., can only lose 22 votes on a floor vote. Politico reported early Thursday afternoon that about 36 members of the House Freedom Caucus were working to block the bill in its current form, and about 12 “centrist” Republicans have come out against the bill. Such numbers point to a slim chance of the bill passing without compromise.

In Arkansas, Reps. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, and Steve Womack, R-Rogers, advanced the bill in the House Budget Committee March 16. U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro., has said he opposes the bill. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has said the bill has little chance for passage on his end of the Capitol.

It was learned late Thursday afternoon that the healthcare plan vote would be put off until Friday, with some speculation that a deal would not be reached for a Friday vote.

Also, Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Vincent Insalaco said the legislation supported by Pence would “take away health insurance from over 300,000 Arkansans.”

“It is the most vulnerable among us who will pay the steepest price of this administration’s irresponsible policies. Here in Arkansas, 300,000 of our neighbors face the imminent threat of losing healthcare coverage. We hope Governor Hutchinson will remind Vice President Pence of this fact during his visit to our state,” Insalaco noted in his statement.