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Trump sees chance for success of 'evolving' GOP healthcare bill

President Trump offered an optimistic assessment of his stalled legislative agenda Thursday, touting a revived healthcare bill that he said could pass as soon as next week.

At an East Room news conference, Trump said he had never given up on his effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. His tone had been far more circumspect a month earlier, after House Republican leaders shelved their initial bill amid faltering support from both conservative and centrist Republicans.

At that time, Trump signaled his intent to move on to tax reform even as he held out some possibility of making tweaks to the existing healthcare law if Democrats came on board.

On Thursday, Trump said the Republican bid to repeal President Obama's signature health law was "evolving."

"Remember, it took Obamacare 17 months. I've really been negotiating this for two months — maybe even less than that," he said.

Negotiations among Republicans have produced a bill that "gets better and better and better," Trump said.

"We have a good chance of getting it soon," the president said. "I believe we will get it, whether it's next week or shortly thereafter."

Despite some reports that White House officials expected a vote as soon as next week when lawmakers return from a two-week Easter recess, a House leadership aide said it was unlikely that legislative language would be ready to share among Republicans by week's end.

The more urgent priority for Congress is passing a temporary funding measure before the current one expires on April 29. Failure to do so would prompt a government shutdown just as Trump marks the milestone 100th day in office, and would represent a major setback for him and his party at a time when it has total control of Washington.

For Trump, agreeing to a temporary funding measure that largely extends current spending levels would deprive him of an opportunity to begin acting on high-profile promises like a border wall and ramped-up defense spending.

"We want to keep the government open," Trump said.

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