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Freedom Caucus keeps heat on would-be ACA changers

Congressional vote counting

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., tweeted that Republicans and Democrats both have an incentive to pretend that the AHCA proposal would repeal the ACA. (Photo: Amash)
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., tweeted that Republicans and Democrats both have an incentive to pretend that the AHCA proposal would repeal the ACA. (Photo: Amash)

Members of the House Freedom Caucus are still making the Republican fight to get the American Health Care Act proposal through the House interesting.

House Speaker Paul Ryan needs 216 votes to push the Affordable Care Act de-funding measure over to the Senate. He hopes to bring the measure up for a vote on the House floor Thursday.

If all House Democrats vote against AHCA, supporters will need to get all but 16 of the House Republicans to vote for the measure to pass it.

Related: Ryan clings to core of GOP health bill as opposition mounts

Many members of The Freedom Caucus, a group for about 30 to 40 lawmakers who strongly support efforts to free markets from government interference, appear to oppose AHCA.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the caucus chairman, said Friday, during an interview on C-SPAN, that he believes at least 40 House Republicans oppose the current version of the bill.

The Freedom Caucus does not list its members on the web, but The Daily Signal posted a partial list in 2015. A search of the Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and websites of lawmakers on that list suggests that the following Republicans would prefer not to vote for the AHCA budget measure: Justin Amash, David Brat, Ron DeSantis, Jeff Duncan, Brian Fitzpatrick, Louie Gohmert, Morgan Griffith, Jim Jordan, John Katko, Raul Labrador, Mark Meadows and Reid Ribble.

The list of high-profile, outspoken AHCA critics in the Senate includes Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

To make AHCA compatible with complicated, traditional Senate procedures, AHCA drafters made it a bill that affects only the components of the ACA that are related to the budget. That means AHCA leaves many ACA provisions, such as the provisions that created the ACA public exchange program and most ACA major medical benefits mandates, in place.

Many of the AHCA opponents say they want to vote only for a bill that truly repeals the ACA, not a measure that simply the budget-related parts of the ACA.

Amash, a Michigan Republican, tweeted that AHCA is "Obamacare 2.0," and an example of "the elusive lose-lose-lose" proposition.

"Both Republican and Democratic establishments have incentive to pretend this bill repeals Obamacare when it does no such thing," Amash tweeted.

Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said in a speech on the House floor that the ACA "needs to be repealed, root and branch."

But some Republican House members who opposed the AHCA measure last week, such as Gary Palmer of Alabama, have said they are happy with House committees made to the measure during markups and now intend to vote for the measure on the House floor.


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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
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