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President Trump met with Republican congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday to kickstart the process of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, just one day after he laid out a blueprint for healthcare reform in his speech to a joint session of Congress.

“Thank you very much, we are here to start the process,” Trump said at the outset of the meeting. “It begins as of now and we’ll have tremendous success.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were joined by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House majority leader, Rep. Steve Scalise, House majority whip, Sen. John Cornyn, Senate majority whip, and Sen. Cory Gardner, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, among others.

Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus also attended the lunch.

Trump outlined several of his top priorities for an Obamacare replacement during his speech Tuesday evening. The president said any replacement plan should allow Americans to purchase health insurance plans across state lines, give states more flexibility on Medicaid and increase the use of Health Savings Accounts, among other provisions. He called on Democrats to help Republicans fix the crumbling healthcare system.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said earlier Wednesday that Trump will meet with Democratic leaders as well as other “rank and file” members in the coming weeks, but stressed that the event “has always been a Republican lunch.”


“The Republicans control the agenda, and this is about charting out the agenda and the timeline,” Spicer said of the lunch meeting.



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