(CNN) -- Republicans plans to repeal and replace Obamacare cleared a key procedural hurdle Thursday when the House Budget Committee passed a bill supported by GOP leadership and President Donald Trump, despite three conservatives voting against it.
The early morning vote was quicker than expected. The legislation now moves to the House Rules Committee where it can be amended.
The point of the budget committee wasn't to significantly amend the legislation as it is written but instead package together plans that were already passed out of the House Ways and Means and House Energy and Commerce Committees last week after marathon markups.
The obstacle for leadership Thursday was to pass the bill through the committee without significant conservative defections. A majority of the committee's 36 members supported the bill.
Leadership remained confident of their bill's prospects Wednesday night during a news conference with reporters and Diane Black, the chairman of the committee, said in advance of the vote that she expected the bill to pass out of committee.
"To my Republican colleagues who have doubts today, I encourage you: Don't cut off discussion," the Tennessee Republican said. "Stay in this effort and help us enhance this proposal by advancing it out of committee and pushing for further conservative reforms. Members who desire to see this bill improved have every right to make their voices heard," Black said in her opening statement.
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