President Donald Trump opened his Sunday up with a shot across the bow at conservative Republicans in the House, blaming the Freedom Caucus and influential conservative groups for allowing Obamacare to remain the law of the land.
“Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare,” Trump tweeted.
The American Health Care Act – a rushed bill that found few enthusiastic supporters anywhere in the Republican Party – was pulled from the House floor on Friday after it appeared clear that there would not be enough votes to pass it.
In bringing up Planned Parenthood, Trump is referencing a clause in the bill that would have stripped the organization of its federal funding, something conservatives have been wanting to pull off for at least the last two years.
How well this plays with Trump’s voters is another matter. Conservative media has been putting the blame for this debacle not on the president and not on the Freedom Caucus, but instead on House Speaker Paul Ryan. The story goes that Ryan sabotaged Trump’s big healthcare moment by inserting too many of his own ideas into the bill.
But moderate Republicans are accusing the Freedom Caucus of once again grandstanding instead of governing. On a New York radio show this weekend, Rep. Pete King (R-NY) said that instead of trying to appease the far right of the House, Ryan should begin working on things that will bring Democrats into the conversation.
“We’re going to have to realize whether it’s healthcare, whether it’s tax reform coming up, that we’re going to have to find a way to get legislation through that is not just all Republican,” King said on 970 AM. “Because then it becomes all or nothing, and it’s going to end up becoming nothing.”
That may well be, but the point many in the Freedom Caucus were making – the point, in fact, that even many Republican governors were making – is that this healthcare bill would have been worse than nothing. Worse than leaving Obamacare in place. That’s why it was universally condemned by the right, the left, and almost everyone in between.
Further, King is being naive about the state of the modern Democratic Party if he thinks they are willing to begin working with President Donald Trump. They have their sights set on impeachment, not finding compromise! You can talk all day long about how constituents will pressure them into supporting an infrastructure bill, but you’re misreading the gameplan. Things have changed. The Democrats are enraged and desperate.
And so, we have gridlock once again. The fight continues.