First casualty for House Freedom Caucus after health care meltdown
Mar 30 2017 by Lorena Waters
"There were several failures when Obamacare went through during the process".
While the anti-establishment bloc that grew out of the tea party's rise helped the Republicans win majorities in Congress in 2010 and 2014, the internal divide, complicated further by Trump's independence, threatens the GOP's ability to deliver on other promises.
Mr Trump's fellow Republicans control both houses of Congress.
Yet somehow they have still managed to do it. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. And it's bound to get more hard given the president's tactics of consent: Do as I say or you're dead to me.
His book, "The Art of the Deal", brags: "Deals are my art form". They had no idea what a replacement was. After one of the most unusual presidential campaigns in American history, many wondered what the next few years in Washington would look like.
The two men speak nearly every day and share the outlines of an agenda - though on health care, it was congressional Republicans under Mr. Ryan who wrote the bill, then enlisted Mr. Trump's negotiating and salesmanship powers to try to rally support. It's a long and depressing old story, filed under the heading, "Me Too". Among my interlocutors was a roughly even split between those who were disappointed that the House's first attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare had failed because it showed the GOP as being unable to govern even with almost full control of the federal government and because of the importance of the underlying policy goal, and those who argued that the bill was so flawed that the GOP and the public are both fortunate that the measure was stopped.
"We were a 10-year opposition party where being against things was easy to do". To many, it is very simple: Obamacare must be repealed, not modified. So they cobble together an bad, botched compromise, then force it down everybody's throat, and nobody is able to stand up and stop it. They described the discussions on condition of anonymity. This is not a debate. "If you don't have the votes, you don't have the votes". We won provisions that allowed states to impose a work requirement for Medicaid and choose optional block grant funding for the program. And finally we have seen some of those representatives threatened unsuccessfully by Trump. Leading up to last week's vote effort, House Republican leaders attempted to use a legislative procedure known as reconciliation to avoid filibuster in the Senate, which also restricts lawmakers to changing provisions that have a budgetary impact.
Democrats can't fall into the revenge trap, mimicking the Republicans' Obama-era obstructionism.
President Trump tweeted about the Freedom Caucus Sunday morning.
Meadows also vowed to work with Trump for "real tax reform". Ultimately, Obama's health law doesn't seem to have held premiums down all that much - but it also hasn't caused them to explode. They were capable of so much independence that they actually formed a pact to resist outside pressure. Tax reform beckons. Republicans tell themselves they will get better results on taxes because it is more natural terrain for the party, an implicit concession that the GOP - even after electing a populist president - still can't bring itself to engage on kitchen-table issues that don't involve tax cuts.
CNN senior congressional producer Deirdre Walsh reported that after the Republican conference meeting, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows said he still wanted to get healthcare reform done and did not think Republicans should leave for the April recess until legislation has passed.
Notice how this turns the big narrative of the last election on its head.
"It's time for the party to start governing", Priebus said.
But lawmakers in the Freedom Caucus poured cold water on talk of rebellion now.
Ironically, the House bill that just collapsed included another tool that insurance experts say is key to sustaining markets. Ryan says he is proud of the bill they produced and that it would make a dramatic improvement in healthcare.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of OH said that Democrats always wanted to see the health care law improved, but that Republicans revealed themselves Friday.