Though the Freedom Caucus is under assault from all sides, some of its members who have spoken to the media or made public statements are standing strong — insisting that they are willing to work with President Trump to keep the GOP’s promise to repeal Obamacare.
The media has used the failure of the American Health Care Act — Republican leadership’s phony repeal bill — as an excuse to attack conservatives in Congress. The Tea Party members of the Freedom Caucus, who opposed the legislation on grounds that it would not improve the American health insurance market, have been labeled “hardliners” who are unwilling to “compromise” or “get things done.”
President Trump has expressed his frustration with the health insurance bill’s failure in a series of tweets, first suggesting that the Freedom Caucus saved Planned Parenthood funding and Obamacare, and later announcing that if conservatives don’t hop aboard the establishment Republican agenda they will be fought in 2018.
“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” the president tweeted.
Some members of the House Freedom Caucus are pushing back on President Donald Trump’s threat to “fight” conservatives in the 2018 midterm primary elections.
“It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain [Trump]. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment,” Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) tweeted.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 30, 2017
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 30, 2017
Freedom Caucus stood with u when others ran. Remember who your real friends are. We're trying to help u succeed.
— Raúl R. Labrador (@Raul_Labrador) March 30, 2017
I understand the President’s frustration. I share that frustration w/ a swamp refusing to repeal Obamacare. I am on board for actual repeal.
— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) March 30, 2017
The Freedom Caucus is trying to change Washington. This bill keeps Washington the same, plain and simple,” Rep. Jordan said on Fox News Thursday.
“We appreciate the president; we are trying to help the president. But the fact is, you have to look at the legislation. It doesn’t do what we told the voters we were going to do, and the American people understand that. That’s why only 17 percent of the population supports this legislation.”
“We want to help the president get a bill that rises above 17% in the polling,” Congressman Dave Brat (R-Va.) told Conservative Review. He said the Freedom Caucus is looking for a bill that will lower premiums by repealing the insurance regulations and mandated health benefits that are driving up the cost of health insurance.
Brat also criticized the mainstream media narrative that the Freedom Caucus sunk Obamacare repeal. “The narrative by the elites and the D.C. cronies and the mainstream media is that ‘we can’t get to yes.’”
“On the facts that’s false,” Brat said. “We voted ‘yes’ 50 times for repeal. And the 2015 bill was unanimous, basically, with Republicans in the House and the Senate.”
Rep. Brat argues that the Freedom Caucus has compromised from voting for that 2015 full repeal of Obamacare to nearly supporting the American Health Care Act, “kind of an Obamacare federal structure that maintains the basic architecture of Obamacare.”
The idea that we haven’t moved considerably is just laughable,” Brat said.
Further, “it was clear to Leadership that more moderates were going to vote no if that bill came to the floor than the Freedom Caucus. But that narrative is not as convenient. Once that vote hit 22 ‘Noes’ it was going to go to 60 or 70, is the best estimate.”
Why then are moderates like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Il.) claiming the Freedom Caucus killed Obamacare repeal?
“They’re just being politically shrewd,” Brat said. “The mainstream media, of course, goes along with that narrative that it’s these conservative guys’ fault. It’s the usual D.C. narrative.”
A narrative that President Trump has bought into. But Freedom Caucus conservatives aren’t the only ones making Brat’s point.
Congressman Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) — who is not a member of the Freedom Caucus — told PJ media that “there were probably ten to fifteen members of the Freedom Caucus that were still a no.” However, Emmer estimated that there were “two-thirds to three-quarters of the Freedom Caucus [who] were yes on this bill.” A “vast majority.”
This media narrative blaming the Freedom Caucus is “intentional,” Emmer said.
It always has been this way. You’ve got to marginalize the conservatives as much as possible. I think this is done both by liberals on the Left as much as liberals on the Right, Walter. The more you can marginalize this group, the less influence they can have, right?…
Marginalizing conservatives is exactly what the moderate Republicans in the Tuesday Group have decided to do. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who was the first member of Congress to endorse President Trump, told reporters today that the Freedom Caucus no longer has a seat at the table for negotiations on legislation.
Rep Chris Collins says Tuesday Group met last night agreed they won't meet or work w Freedom Caucus. "If that call comes in just hang up"
— Daniel Newhauser (@dnewhauser) March 30, 2017
Collins says HFC is trying to blame moderates on health care: "This is the Freedom Caucus looking for a scapegoat" https://t.co/hEkKixuNuO
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 30, 2017
These moderate Republicans refused to go along with a full repeal of Obamacare, and now they are pledging to work with liberal Democrats to pass bad bills rather than use the Republican majority to pass conservative legislation.
It’s compromise with Democrats. Screw the conservatives. Pass liberal legislation that will hurt people. And President Trump is fine with all of it.
This is not what the conservative base in the Republican Party voted for in 2016. Then again, actually it is. The Tea Party took this risk when they handed Trump the Republican nomination in 2016. Donald Trump was never a conservative. He was never anti-establishment.
Some conservatives knew that when they held their nose to beat Hillary Clinton.
Well, the Democrats are out of power and conservatives are still losing. So where do we go from here?