Obamacare Replacement: What's the Deal with the Freedom Caucus?
The Freedom Caucus is a group of around 30 conservative and libertarian congressmen within the House of Representatives.
The caucus, which is often associated with the Tea Party movement, came together during the events leading up to former Speaker John Boehner’s resignation.
The hardline group formed as a sort of offshoot of the Republican Study Committee. It was founded by nine Republican representatives following a congressional retreat in Pennsylvania in 2015. The group’s original members insisted that anyone interested in joining must be willing to vote against then-Speaker of the House John Boehner.
The Freedom Caucus was heavily involved in the events surrounding Boehner’s resignation. In October 2015, the caucus said that it has reached a supermajority in favor of Paul Ryan.
Nearly all members of the Freedom Caucus opposed President Trump’s American Health Care Act, and Trump has largely blamed them for the GOP’s failure to pass the bill.
“The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After so many bad years they were ready for a win!” tweeted Trump on March 27th. “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!” he tweeted a few days later.
Caucus member Jim Jordan (R-OH) argues that the healthcare bill was rushed and badly written. It was unpopular. It was opposed by conservatives and moderates. “Tweets and statements and blame don’t change the facts,” he told CNN.
But not all members of the caucus opposed the healthcare bill, and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) withdrew himself from the group following the bill’s failure to pass. “In order to deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward,” said Poe.
Republicans have criticized Trump’s attack on the Freedom Caucus, insisting that the GOP must work together if it has any hope of drafting healthcare legislation to replace ObamaCare.
“There’s a better way of doing this,” said Rush Limbaugh in response to Trump’s twitter tirade against the caucus. “These guys are not the enemy. The Democrats are the enemy. The Freedom Caucus has actually made a pretty big move here.”
“The Freedom Caucus, as well as the moderates…that squashed the terribly written American Health Care Act (AHCA) quite possibly saved the Republicans an embarrassing defeat in the 2018 midterms,” writes WND’s Carl Jackson. “The president needs the Freedom Caucus as much as they need him. So, here’s a suggestion for President Trump and Speaker Ryan: Stop bashing the Freedom Caucus and work with them instead.”
The Freedom Caucus does want to eradicate ObamaCare, but they didn’t think Trump’s first try at replacement legislation went far enough to undo the law. Personally, I give them credit for sticking to their principles even when it means going against the majority of their party.