President-elect Donald Trump demanded Tuesday that Congress immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass another health law quickly thereafter, issuing a nearly impossible request: replace a health law that took nearly two years to pass with one Republicans would have only weeks to shape.
"We have to get to business," Trump told the New York Times in a telephone interview. "Obamacare has been a catastrophic event."
Trump appeared to be unclear both about the timing of already scheduled votes in Congress and about the difficulty of his demand — a repeal vote "probably some time next week" and a replacement "very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter."
Republican leaders have made the repeal of President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement a top priority, and votes Thursday in the Senate and Friday in the House would approve parliamentary language crafted to protect legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act from a filibuster in the Senate.
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin set forth a similar timetable Tuesday, saying that a bill to repeal the health care law would include some legislation to replace aspects of it, though Republicans have yet to agree on the details of their alternative.
But those ambitions will be difficult to achieve and will almost certainly require Democratic cooperation.
For several days, congressional Republicans of diverse political views — moderates and conservatives alike — have been saying they are nervous about repealing the law without any clear idea of what comes next.