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Republicans just took their first big step to replace Obamacare

The health care bill passed committee after a marathon debate.

 Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Richard Neal, D-Mass., conduct a House Ways and Means Committee markup Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

It took 18 hours for the House Ways and Means Committee to pass the Republican Obamacare replacement plan, the American Health Care Act, after Democrats put up a long fight.

It was a marathon session, reviewing the bill’s tax provisions, which stretched into the early hours of Thursday morning. The final vote — 23-16 in favor of the bill — was called at approximately 4:15 am.

The larger health care bill still must clear other committees before advancing to the House floor.

After a rough rollout of the bill Monday night, without a price tag estimate from the Congressional Budget Office and some criticism from within the Republican Party, Republicans stood unified in committee Wednesday.

There have been mixed reviews from different conservative factions — and some Republican senators, such as Mike Lee of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, have implied the bill could be dead on arrival should it pass the full House and move to the Senate.

But the proposed legislation had earned the endorsement of President Donald Trump, and the Republican side of the aisle in the Ways and Means Committee didn’t waver in the fight, striking down every Democratic amendment.

Without all the information from CBO’s analysis however, it remains to be seen whether Republicans would continue to stand strong in the face of a possibly negative score.

“Of course if it comes back and says that, we will have to reconsider and it will impact the process,” New York Republican Rep. Tom Reed said. “But I think we will land in a good place for the score."

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