Congressman quits post in GOP group over health care bill

Cheryl Sanders
May 24, 2017

Tom MacArthur of New Jersey announced Tuesday he is resigning as co-chair of the moderate group of Republican House members known as the Tuesday Group. An amendment he helped craft brought members of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus to support the bill, but also meant that if the bill failed, blame would be placed on those in the Tuesday Group who opposed it.

MacArthur chided his fellow moderates for their lack of engagement with other members of the Republican party.

In prepared remarks, the 3rd District congressman said he believed he could help "move the ball forward" on health care and several other key issues, but while some caucus members have supported his efforts, others "have bristled".

MacArthur said some group members "have different objectives and a different sense of governing than I do".

The congressman complained, however, that although "many in the Tuesday Group are eager to live up to our ideal of being problem-solvers, while others seem unwilling to compromise". "I just felt that this was best for me and for the group".

MacArthur was elected co-chairman with Rep. Charlie Dent, of Pennsylvania, in January, but his position came under fire from some members after he helped revive the health care bill after it almost sank in March due to opposition from moderate members and conservatives.

"You can not lead people where they don't want to go", Rep. MacArthur told Politico.

Members of the Tuesday Group in the past had criticized conservative efforts to force ideological votes that had no chance of passing the Senate, and MacArthur came under fire within the group.

But MacArthur had sharp words for some of his colleagues who, he said, are not interested in having the group play a central role in negotiating major legislation.

Dent now co-chairs the Tuesday Group with New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik.

Asked if the caucus would have taken action to remove MacArthur as co-chair had he not resigned, Dent said, "I wouldn't speculate". "I ran because I think the group could have a lot more influence in a positive way, and I think in the health-care debate actually they had some success at that, but there are members that are bristling at that". He's a member of the Tuesday Group, and that was his decision.

"When you chair a group, you've got to make sure that you're always recognizing that your voice carries more than your own individual weight", Reed said. "We have to fix health care, or it's going implode and hurt millions of people".

Other reports by iNewsToday