This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," April 20, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which one is more important to you to have, a vote on health care or a vote on a bill to keep the government open?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I want to get both. Are you shocked to hear that? And we are doing very well on health care. We will see what happens. This will be great health care. It's evolving, you know, there was never a give up. The plan gets better and better and better. And it has gotten really, really good. And a lot of people are liking it a lot. We have a good chance of getting it soon. I would like to say next week but I believe we will get it.
As far as keeping the government open, I think we want to give the government open. Don't you agree? So yes, I think we'll get both.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: The president today, that deadline is April 29th for the government shutdown. Health care expected to be moving forward next week. Mollie, indications the House speaker saying that it is difficult but, quote, "We are very close" in a speech over in the U.K. today.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: The White House had been talking about having something very soon. And this week we've seen House leaders temper those expectations and say it may take a little bit longer. But certainly, conversations are going well. What's most interesting is that the freedom caucus, which was blamed for their failure of the first bill, somewhat unfairly, has shown itself to be quite open to negotiations and the moderates are the ones who are holding out and proving a little bit intractable.
BAIER: Where is the hinge point here? Do we know? What gets across the finish line? Any of you guys?
CHARLES LANE, WASHINGTON POST: One of the issues is this question of the essential health benefits, this package that under the existing Obamacare has to be in every one of the plans in the exchange. Will there be any wiggle room on that? And then related, there's this question of supplying the government subsidy to the lower income people who are trying to get money on the exchanges. The Republicans in the Congress have actually got a lawsuit, as I understand, going against it because the funds have not been appropriated in their view. And that is the kind of money that Trump is holding over the heads of the Democrats to get them to somehow come in on this.
JASON RILEY, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE SENIOR FELLOW: Two things. One, we haven't seen legislative language, which we usually see before.
BAIER: Apparently there is a conference on Saturday, but we'll see.
RILEY: But on the other hand, I think Trump is very desperate, frankly, for a big legislative victory in his first 100 days. I think his supporters are very desperate for a big legislative victory. And I think he is eager to sign something. So I wouldn't put it -- I don't think it's impossible that something will get done. I think Trump -- Republicans control Capitol Hill, they control the White House. And I think his supporters want to see something other than executive orders signed.
BAIER: Steve, the other thing is this government shutdown. What is going to happen to fund the government? You have the issue of the border wall and funding for the border wall, whether that is going to be a sticking point. Funding for Obamacare subsidies, there are threats by Democrats of putting something that says President Trump has to show his tax returns by July 1st. All kinds of things could happen next week before we get to the end of the week.
HAYES: Landmines all over the place. I think next week is likely to be a very heavy news week, unlike what we have seen recently.
BAIER: Every day for the past --
HAYES: Going back briefly to the health care debate, one of the most interesting proposals came from two members of the freedom, House Freedom Caucus, Representatives Schweikert and Palmer. And it's $15 billion risk- sharing fund that has the enthusiastic support of some other Freedom Caucus members who were opposed to what was happening before. It's backed by House Republican leadership. The question I think remains how do moderates react to this and are they willing to continue negotiating.
BAIER: The question is, does he get it done?
HEMINGWAY: I think he does. But the desperation is actually what makes it most dangerous because getting it done right is the most important thing, not getting it done speedily. And everybody really wants to get it done speedily.
LANE: I would just remind everyone, this has to get through the Senate before it can actually be called a legislative victory. This is really, what we are talking about here is getting something through the House and claiming a victory on that. But it's far from clear to me that whatever the House ends up producing is something that will remotely resemble the final law, if any, that they produce.
BAIER: In the meantime, the big enchilada when you talk to CEOs is tax reform. And you have leader saying it is going to happen this year.
RILEY: When you talk about landmines, my goodness. Every line of the tax code has 10 lobbyists there to defend it. I don't see that happening. I just don't, not by August, no. I don't see it happening.
BAIER: On that optimistic note, we will end here.
BAIER: Thank you, panel.
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