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Powerful lobbies dig in ahead of health care vote

Washington (CNN)A pair of Republican pressure groups who have long scuffled in the halls of Congress began a new final square-off on Tuesday, just two days left before the party’s health care bill is saved or perishes.

The US Chamber of Commerce, the main lobby representing major corporations and businesses, said Tuesday it would make future political decisions in part on the vote, which is expected Thursday, to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Chamber supports the bill backed by House GOP leadership and is traditionally a major outside spender on behalf of Republican candidates in general elections, though it most vociferously backs more business-friendly candidates and less strident conservatives.
The Chamber spent heavily in 2009 to defeat President Barack Obama’s health care law but failed.
    “The Chamber will consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill — including votes on any weakening amendments — in our annual ‘How They Voted’ scorecard,” the Chamber told members of the House on Tuesday, in what is known in lobbying as a “Key Vote Alert.”
    Meanwhile, the Chamber’s familiar foils on Tuesday reinvigorated their political muscle and showed no signs of withholding their opposition to the bill despite a series of tweaks from its backers to sway wayward Republicans. Even if the bill manages to pass the House on Thursday, its fortunes appear complicated at best in the Senate, where a growing number of both moderates and hardline conservatives have vowed to thwart its passage.
    The Club for Growth, a more purist group further to the right of the Chamber, on Tuesday said it would spend another $500,000 to oppose what they call “RyanCare,” named after the House speaker, in the districts of several moderate Republican congressmen.
    “Tell Leonard Lance: Don’t fall for fake repeal,” one of the spots, airing in Lance’s New Jersey district, said. “Vote no on ‘RyanCare’ and get rid of Obamacare for good.”
    The Club’s buy came after Vice President Mike Pence told the group’s donors in a speech in Florida that he recognized their concerns with the bill but said that “we need your help” to improve it.
    The Club was also joined Tuesday in renewed opposition by the Koch network’s Americans for Prosperity and by Heritage Action, insurgent GOP groups that similarly are a nuisance to Capitol Hill leadership. Like the Chamber, Heritage and AFP said Tuesday that it too would be deeming Thursday to be a “key vote.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/21/politics/lobbying-obamacare-vote/index.html