NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland (CNN) — Vice President Mike Pence rallied conservatives Thursday gathered at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference around President Donald Trump’s agenda and sought to reignite conservatives’ fury against Obamacare.
Pence delivered his rallying cry as heated, at-times angry confrontations continue to erupt around the country between Republican members of Congress and constituents anxious about the GOP’s plans to dismantle the health care law.
“Despite the best efforts of liberal activists at town halls, the American people know better. Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go,” Pence said to applause here at the American Conservative Union’s annual conference.
He dismissed the concerns expressed at town halls around the country that those covered through Obamacare could lose health care coverage as “fear-mongering from the left” and vowed there would be an “orderly transition” to a new health care system. Republicans are still working to formulate a replacement for the health care law, but Pence promised it would maintain protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions and allow the purchase of health care policies across state lines.
Pence also laid out the Trump administration’s priorities in his speech Thursday night, telling the conservative crowd: “This is our time.”
He touted Trump’s plans to bulk up the US military, details of which are expected next week, and ticked down a list of crowd-favorite policies that riled the conservative crowd to their feet, including the administration’s anti-abortion agenda, its robust support for Israel and actions to end illegal immigration.
But he made clear the administration would need to “fight” to achieve its goals — and he laid out the battle lines of that fight.
“Our fight didn’t end on November 8. We won the day, make no mistake about it. The harder work, the more important work now lies ahead,” he said.
And he listed the administration’s opponents: “The media … the elites … the insiders.” And of course, the Democratic Party.
“They dismissed our president every step of the way. In dismissing him they also dismissed millions of the hard-working American men and women who make this country great,” Pence said.
And as he urged Americans not to believe the concerns Democrats have raised about GOP plans to act on a repeal of the health care law before enacting a replacement, Pence slammed Democrats’ previous talking points in support of the health care law by branding them as “fake news.”
“Talk about your fake news, folks, just look at all the promises liberals made about Obamacare,” Pence said. “They told us if you liked your doctor, you could keep (them). They told us if you liked your health plan, you could keep it.”
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