Vice President Mike Pence hosted two dozen representatives of conservative groups in the Indian Treaty Room in a lineup that included many of the most vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act over the past seven years and some of the folks who are expressing the loudest misgivings over the current GOP plan to overturn the law now.
Full list of attendees to come, but people and name-cards spotted by pooler included ALEC's Lisa Nelson, Timothy Chapman of Heritage Action, Andy Roth of Club for Growth, Melissa Ortiz of Able Americans, Amanda Moorhead and Stephen Keen and Bradley Close of NFIB, Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, Matthew Schlapp of the American Conservative Union, Jennifer Butler of the State Policy Network, Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots, Adam Brandon and Jason Pye of Freedom Works, Americans for Limited Government's Rick Manning, and Chris Jacobs, who now represents the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Also present: Heather Curry and Michael Cannon of the libertarian (don't call them conservative) Cato Institute.
Check all spellings before use: Grace-Marie Turner had amended her name card to add the -Marie, others may be imperfectly typed by your pooler or at source.
Ex-Rep. John Shadegg and Health and Human Services Secretary joined the VP. Aides on the sidelines included Domestic Policy Council health adviser Katy Talento.
In brief opening remarks, Mr. Pence thanked the attendees for coming, reminded them of his familiarity with them from his own work in the conservative movement, and assured them the president was going to repeal and replace the 2010 health law -- emphasizing that that was something they could all agree on. He repeated familiar GOP critiques of the law's selling points ("If you like your plan...", "If you like your doctor...") and said that it had failed on its central promise of bringing down the cost of health insurance. He said that the president, congressional leaders and everyone else in the administration was "absolutely committed to keeping their promise to the American people" of striking the law.
The VP also emphasized one particular part of the White House's sales pitch to conservative groups: that this is what "the president likes to call phase one" of the process and there will be two more phases to come where they can see more of what they want.
Dr. Price made a handful of comments, saying that he was glad to work for a president who "understands completely" the importance of getting repeal done, and that he also thanked everyone for the work they had done to date.
Mr. Pence then graciously invited the "members of the Fourth Estate" to proceed to their next appointment.
Also spotted on fourth floor of OEOB: DNI nominee and ex-Sen. Dan Coats.