Trump declares war on party rebels

31 March, 2017, 01:46 | Author: Lorraine Moran
  • President Donald Trump listens to a speaker in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Tuesday

Republican and Freedom Caucus member Louie Gohmert said conservatives will "hold our nose" and support healthcare legislation if they can be assured that premiums would come down.

"It's not going to the floor next week", Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the chief House GOP vote-counter, said Thursday morning.

U.S. president Donald Trump warned conservative Republicans that he may not support them in next year's mid-term elections as tensions continued within the Republican party over last week's failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. In the wake of the health care defeat, Trump called Freedom Caucus members "friends of mine", while still expressing disappointment and surprise that the health care bill didn't pass. "A lot has to be resolved, and I don't think anything will happen quickly", he said. Don't underestimate the importance of unity among the Republican caucus, because Democrats and their Leftmedia allies are in lockstep, and they'll spin any sign of GOP infighting to their advantage.

In a letter to the president, Democrats said they'd be happy to work with him on healthcare, if "you abandon your efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act" and "you rescind your ACA executive order signed on January 20" - neither of which would fly with Republicans.

"What I am anxious about is. that if we don't do this then he will just go work with Democrats to try and change Obamacare - that's hardly a conservative thing", Ryan said.

Ryan enforced that message in the CBS interview, suggesting that Trump's patience was not infinite and he could be tempted to work with the other side if Republicans refuse to implement his agenda.

To be fair, he does have the problem of the Freedom Caucus - a group of 30 to 40 House Republicans who are far to Ryan's right, which puts them beyond the outer fringe. It is hard to imagine any health care bill that is acceptable to both the Freedom Caucus and a majority of Americans.

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But as the White House considered flexing its muscle against the Freedom Caucus, the group remained unbowed, with several members immediately hitting back against a president whose agenda has stalled, whose approval ratings are hovering below 40 percent and who has been dogged by the ongoing probe into contacts between his associates and Russian officials. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., is the group's chairman, and he's often accompanied by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was the former chairman, and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho.

"Many Republicans just want repeal", Sen.

Democrats have indicated they may be receptive to working with the White House if Republicans focus on reforming Obamacare. On Monday he tweeted the Democrats will be ready to deal once "Obamacare folds".

Durbin said he believes the White House is "more receptive now" to bipartisan negotiations after last week's defeat in the House. Ryan said he was encouraging Republican lawmakers "to keep talking to one another". Jordan said Republicans need to figure out how to work together to confront looming battles including the federal budget, appropriations and raising the US debt ceiling.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday that no vote is now planned on the measure. "You know why? I want a patient-centred system".

In 2015, a group of conservative lawmakers decided that the original conservative caucus in the House, the Republican Study Committee, had gotten too big and wasn't conservative enough, so they broke off and formed the Freedom Caucus.

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