EXECUTIVE

Pence: Republicans have made 'good progress' in new ObamaCare repeal bid

The vice president goes on 'The First 100 Days' to discuss the Trump administration's agenda

 

EXCLUSIVE: Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News' "The First 100 Days" Wednesday that House Republicans are making "good progress" in their revived effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

"Clearly, a few weeks back, Congress wasn’t quite ready to take the first step to begin the end of ObamaCare," Pence told host Martha MacCallum. "But conversations have continued since then. I think we’ve made good progress, and I’ve seen good faith on all sides."

The vice president said he did not want to put any timetable on when a new ObamaCare replacement might come before the House, but said he and President Trump were "encouraged" by their progress and vowed, "it's gonna get done."

Pence also told MacCallum that "all evidence points to the Assad regime" being behind a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria this week. 

"No American can look at those images and not be heartsick," Pence said. "It is a reflection of the failure of the past administration to both confront the mindless violence of the Assad regime and also hold Russia and Syria to account for the promises to destroy chemical weapons."

The attack killed at least 75 people and wounded hundreds more in Khan Sheikhoun, activists said Wednesday, providing updated numbers. The killer agent may have been sarin -- which is 20 times as deadly as cyanide, according to the Idlib Media Center. The poison is colorless and odorless, making it a challenge to detect.

TRUMP SAYS 'HEINOUS' CHEMICAL WEAPONS STRIKE IN SYRIA 'CANNOT BE TOLERATED'

The Vice President also said that President Trump is "very much looking forward" to welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping to his Mar-Al Lago estate in Florida this weekend.

"What [the Chinese are] going to find in president Trump is a strong leader who’s going to put America first and is going to be willing to talk about the hard things," Pence said. "The fact that we lose $500 billion a year in a trade deficit to China, that we’ve seen manufacturing leaving this country and going to China, the fact that we see China constructing bases in the South China Sea, far beyond and well into international waters and other areas, I’m sure will all be topics."

Pence also addressed the reshuffling of the National Security Council, after Trump’s controversial chief strategist Steve Bannon was removed, saying it was not a demotion.

STEVE BANNON REMOVED FROM NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert also had his role reduced in the shakeup; however, Bossert can still call a meeting of the Homeland Security Council, remains on the Principals Committee and can attend NSC meetings, an administration official told Fox News.

"They are gonna continue to play important policy roles," Pence said, adding the move was "just a natural evolution to ensure the National Security Council is organized in a way that best serves the president in resolving and making those difficult decisions."

Despite the turbulent start to the Trump administration, Pence said he would "give us a very solid 'A'" grade, citing strong economic data and reports indicating that attempts by immigrants to illegally cross the southern border had dropped to low levels. 

"We see America standing tall in the world again, companies are reinvesting in America and creating those good-paying jobs," Pence said, "and what the American people see every single day is a president who is keeping his word to the American people."