With only 17 Republicans (as of a week ago) firmly committed to opposing Trumpcare, Ryancare, RINOcare (whatever you want to call it), one must be curious about the virtue of having a House Freedom Caucus if they don’t ever vote together as a caucus.
Three of the 17 Republicans opposing Trumpcare are from Virginia. Congressman Dave Brat (who has been taking the lead in opposition across the media, along with North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows), Congressman Rob Wittman (who is apparently more conservative than some in the Freedom Caucus), and Freshmen Congressman (and Rock Star) Tom Garrett.
So why have a House Freedom Caucus? I haven’t checked whether or not Congressman Wittman is the only non-member of the HFC to oppose the bill, but what is it about Trumpcare that over half the House Freedom Caucus was ambivalent about a week ago? I’m confused.
I mentioned Mark Meadows of North Carolina earlier; according to The Hill, Meadows is listed as “Leaning or Likely No”. Now, over the last week or two, The Hill reports that about another 16 Republicans in the House have come on board as a No or Likely No vote, but I’m also hearing that many of these “No’s” are conditional on various amendments or other deals. President Trump and Speaker Ryan seem absolutely adamant that they are going to get this bill passed. So, when I hear from Congressmen that “leadership doesn’t have the votes,” my response is, “Are you sure?”
If the entire House Freedom Caucus has come out unified against the bill, then Ryan and McConnell would have been back at the drawing board three weeks ago. I think this bill is going to pass the House and if it does, McConnell will be forced to find the votes in the Senate. Maybe he’ll cut Collins loose, but he’ll have to get Cruz, Paul, and Lee on board.
Vice President Mike Pence is a huge fan of Trumpcare and is working hard in the Senate to make sure that it will pass there and he might be able to appeal to Cruz, Paul, and Lee. Who knows?
If this thing gets out of the House, then I think it becomes law – never to be revisited until a future Democrat Administration and Congress seek to expand the largest Republican Entitlement program in history (hat tip Congressman Garrett).
If Leadership didn’t have the votes, we’d be hearing a lot more stories about threats, and a lot fewer comfortable assurances from Trump, Ryan, and McConnell.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to get stuck with Obamacare. I’m willing to stomach just about anything, including Trumpcare, if it means getting rid of Obamacare – and I disagree with those who claim that Trumpcare is somehow worse than the ACA – but I don’t understand how we could possibly have so few true conservatives in the House of Representatives that we’re currently at the point we are today.