Where does the House Freedom Caucus go from from here?

Cheryl Sanders
March 27, 2017

Thwarted by two factions of fellow Republicans, from the center and far right, House Speaker Paul Ryan said President Barack Obama's health care law, the GOP's No. 1 target in the new Trump administration, will remain in place "for the foreseeable future".

Last night, Trump announced that if the new plan is not passed then Republicans are stuck with ACA and the new president will move on to other issues.

Conservatives are using their considerable leverage on the measure ― the Freedom Caucus has demonstrated they have the votes to sink the legislation ― to extract concessions on Essential Health Benefits, which mandates that insurers offer plans covering 10 services: Outpatient care, Emergency Room visits, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and addiction treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, lab services, preventative care, and pediatric services.

After the conservative lawmakers broke for the afternoon, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters that numerous group's members still were opposed to the bill, called the American Health Care Act. The bill also includes over $275 billion in tax breaks for wealthy Americans.

"'Negotiations are over, we'd like to vote tomorrow and let's get this done for the American people.' That was it", Rep. Duncan Hunter of California told the AP.

Other caucus members called for the full repeal of Obamacare, with Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan saying that the Affordable Care Act was "a disaster, and repealing it remains one of my top priorities".

But fully repealing Obamacare is likely not possible.

The amendment comes after a scheduled vote on the bill was delayed on Thursday afternoon as President Trump, who touts himself as a deal-maker, was unable to convince skeptical lawmakers to support the much-maligned legislation after multiple meetings with House Republicans at the White House.

If Obamacare is replaced, Walberg said his constituents would not simply "walk away" from coverage. The Freedom Caucus hasn't agreed to just the Essential Health Benefits change, though leaders look apt to make that adjustment in a manager's amendment to the legislation that hasn't yet been released. "We are done negotiating, there are no more negotiations".

Following the Freedom Caucus meeting, Meadows said he was planning to reach out to members of the Tuesday Group, a group of centrist Republicans, to "have some discussions on how we can come together and have a consensus, realizing there's different motivations for different members of our conference". "We're trying to take stock of what occurred and what might occur". Membership in the caucus is not published but it's a safe bet the Freedom Caucus is all male and all white.

"I want it to succeed, and I'm not convinced in its current form that it can", said Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, wearing white shirtsleeves and walking slowly toward the exit of the congressional office building. "I think that we continue to see support go with us", he said.

Other reports by iNewsToday