Sen. Rand Paul: Better Healthcare Option Could Change Freedom Caucus' Mind

Carla Harmon
March 23, 2017

A member of the House Freedom Caucus told Independent Journal Review during the meeting that if GOP leadership were to concede exclusively on the issue of essential health benefits, the change would not be substantial enough for the group to reconsider their opposition to the bill. Trump has shown he's willing to use his megaphone and practiced counter-punch against his allies. In the same hearing, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, angrily denied another White House claim, alleging that Obama had pressed British intelligence services to surveil Trump.

The Kentucky senator and licensed medical professional has been one of the most vocal critics of the House health bill, working with conservatives in the lower chamber to help sink it so a new bill that gets to the heart of what they all want can be delivered.

Politico's Josh Dawsey and Jennifer Haberkorn report that the White House is in negotiations with the House Freedom Caucus about getting the caucus's hard-line conservative members to support the American Health Care Act, the Obamacare repeal package put forward by House Speaker Paul Ryan and backed by President Trump.

"They're not telling you they have the votes because they don't have the votes", he said.

Collins rejected the idea of a delay in Thursday's vote, saying, "If we don't get it done Thursday, what would be different on Friday?"

President Trump is pressuring conservative Congressmen who are opposed to his health care bill. One source added that the president said if Republicans don't stick together they're "fools".

"I heard the comment", Dent said. Adding further changes, he said, could jeopardize the legislation's chances in the Senate. Some moderate GOP members, meanwhile, were turned off a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis predicting 24 million people would lose coverage in a decade.

Republicans have an even greater challenge in the Senate, where they hold 52 of 100 seats.

Of course, the group's reputation for ultimately yielding ground in past fights may say more about their limited power when Obama was in the White House - and when every bill had to move towards the center to secure passage. "We have a history of following up and holding politicians accountable, but we will also be there to support and thank the champions who stand strong and keep their promise".

One top Republican not authorized to speak about the whipping process said the leadership remains confident it will collect enough support but is weighing scheduling options.

Massie tweeted Wednesday that he'd switched his vote from "no" to "hell no". "That is what we have to say to the Freedom Caucus and some of the others". Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the caucus, did not face a primary challenger and was re-elected to his seat previous year with more than 64 percent of the vote, slightly higher than Trump's total in his western North Carolina district.

On Sunday, Ryan said the bill will also be changed to provide more assistance to older people.

Plans aired by Trump during his election campaign and his first two months in office lifted US stock markets to new highs. In just the first year, 14 million more people would be without insurance.

At the rally, Trump suggested he wasn't wedded to the current version of bill.

The political stakes for Trump could not be much higher. GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who represents a district outside Philadelphia, posted on his Facebook page that he couldn't vote for the bill.

House leadership, late Monday, tried to soften the blow for various constituencies in their conference.

Trump has long touted his ability at dishing out payback. David Perdue, R-Ga., a Trump ally.

So far, about a dozen members of the Freedom Caucus have come around to embrace the bill. But stocks fell back sharply on Tuesday as investors anxious that a rough ride for the healthcare legislation could affect his ability to deliver on other big pieces of his agenda, from cutting taxes and regulation to boosting infrastructure.

He's warned that he would fund a Super PAC exclusively dedicated to defeat Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who never endorsed the president, if Kasich ever challenged him - an extraordinary threat from a sitting president.

And last week in MI, he turned to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder during a feel-good photo op to note that Snyder never endorsed him.

'I'm asking for your vote on Thursday, ' Trump said, according to Politico.

Other reports by iNewsToday