Trumpcare looks dead on arrival as House conservatives vow to vote against it
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are putting the Affordable Healthcare Act on life support.
The group, which has opposed the bill from the start, emerged from a meeting in Washington on Wednesday with a blunt message for President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan: “Start over” on Trumpcare. Released just over two weeks ago, the bill has gone through three House committees at a dizzyingly fast pace before the scheduled vote Thursday. The bill would substantially cut healthcare subsidies for older Americans, roll back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and cut most of the Obamacare taxes.
If Trump and Ryan instead choose to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote as originally planned on Thursday, the group promised that at least 25 of its roughly 30 members would vote against it, which would be more than the 22 needed to defeat it.
BREAKING: more than 25 Freedom Caucus 'No's' on AHCA — group says "start over"
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) March 22, 2017
At his daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer fired back: “There is no Plan B. There is Plan A and Plan A. We’re going to get this done.”
The White House has been negotiating with the Freedom Caucus over the past two weeks and met again with members Wednesday morning.
Trump told conservative members on Tuesday that he thought Republicans would lose in 2018 if they did not back the legislation. While some Republicans have questioned how strongly the president supported the bill drafted by House Republicans, Trump assured members of Congress last week that he is “1,000 percent behind” it.
But the Freedom Caucus’ conservatives have remain unswayed, believing the replacement bill does not sufficiently bring down healthcare costs and creates an expensive entitlement program. They have instead been calling for passing the same repeal of Obamacare they passed in 2015 and then debating replacements.
Members of the Freedom Caucus are backed up by influential conservative groups like Heritage Action, Freedomworks, and Club for Growth, which have also come out against the bill despite personal entreaties by Trump.
Congressman Mark Meadows, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, left the door slightly open for more negotiating in a message via Twitter:
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) March 22, 2017