Conservatives who have revived the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare say their goal is to come up with a deal that the House could pass by May or even sooner, before lawmakers attempt to tackle tax reform.
"I would have said on Tuesday morning there was a two in 10 chance we would be able to pass a bill, but today I give it a seven out of 10," said Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, a top member of the conservative Republican Study Committee. "I feel good about it."
Republicans are hoping to revive the healthcare bill so it can be completed before House lawmakers move on to the difficult task of trying to pass a comprehensive tax reform measure.
Without finishing the repeal and replacement of Obamacare first, lawmakers say, tax reform will be much more difficult to accomplish primarily because the failed House repeal bill would have cut $1 trillion in taxes without adding to the deficit.
The sting of defeat over healthcare may also hobble Republicans in their efforts to rewrite the tax code.
"You don't have as much revenue to work with if you don't pass the healthcare bill," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., a top House appropriator. "And just the general frustration of not being able to achieve what was a central objective tends to poison the well."
Talks are now underway among members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about three dozen conservative lawmakers who comprised the bulk of the "no" votes that sank the House repeal and replace bill last week.
According to those participating in the discussions, Freedom Caucus members are working to determine where they might be willing to compromise with House moderates, in order to revive the bill leadership was forced to pull from the floor last week.
"It will be substantially what it was before but we'll find some things to make it better to get our moderates back and get some of the Freedom Caucus members back," Flores said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan is encouraging the discussions, lawmakers said. But Ryan has yet to schedule another vote on healthcare reform.
"We still have a promise to keep, so the speaker wants members to continue discussing this issue until we can find a path ahead," a Ryan spokesperson said.
Skepticism was rampant among GOP lawmakers who question whether the Freedom Caucus can strike a deal among its own members after last week's debacle.
"Good luck," said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho. "I don't think the Freedom Caucus could get to yes if they wrote the bill. You might see some minor things, but an overall bill? I just don't see that happening."