- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2017

President Trump declared victory Thursday in taking the first step to repeal and replace Obamacare, saying his House Republican allies had passed a “great plan” and united the Republican Party.

The president said he was “so confident” the Republican-run Senate would also pass the bill.

“This has really brought the Republican Party together,” Mr. Trump said in the Rose Garden with about 100 House Republicans standing behind him, about an hour after the House passed the bill.

“This is the group. What a great group of people,” he said, turning to the lawmakers. “They are not doing it for the party they are doing it for the country.”

Mr. Trump said the bill’s passage in the House, which was his first major legislative success, though short of becoming law, would jumpstart the rest of his agenda, including a historic tax reform plan.

He said the health care makeover, once passed by the Senate and signed into law, would lower premiums and deductibles for Americans.

The president noted how in the last few days the different factions of the party — the moderates in the Tuesday Group and the conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus — came together to narrowly pass the bill without a single Democrat vote.

Mr. Trump, a newcomer to politics when he launched his presidential campaign, asked the lawmakers to grade his performance.

“Am I doing OK?” he asked to laughs from the crowd. “Can you believe it?!”

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