President Trump has blamed the Freedom Caucus multiple times for the failure to pass a replacement bill for Obamacare. On March 24 the president wrote on twitter “The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!” On March 26 he also wrote “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!” Lastly, on Thursday, March 30 President Trump tweeted “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 is attacking the most conservative group in Congress because they won’t go along with his “swampcare” plan as talk show host Bryan Fischer put it. The reality is that the healthcare plan put forth by Paul Ryan and endorsed by the president does little to repeal the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. For the past six or seven years Republicans have campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare. They’ve passed dozens of repeal bills in the House of Representatives throughout this time. When the time came to actually repeal this horrible healthcare bill with a Republican president they put forth a bill known as the American Health Care Act which did little to provide more competition and lower cost in the health insurance market. In reality this bill did not repeal Obamacare.
Since this legislation did not fully or even partially repeal the ACA, the Freedom Caucus stood firm and demanded that GOP leadership alter the legislation to repeal more parts of Obamacare. The Republican leadership in the House failed to move on this.
Instead of blaming the Freedom Caucus members, the president should ask Speaker Ryan why over the past six years he hasn’t been able to formulate legislation that all Republicans can agree on. Maybe because Mr. Ryan didn’t expect President Trump to win the election? Thus Republican leadership was ill prepared to be a governing party as opposed to an opposition party as has been the reality for the past eight years.
Perhaps the president should thank the Freedom Caucus members for saving the Republican Party. If the American Health Care Bill would have passed in its current state then it would be called “Trumpcare” by the Democrats and it would hurt Republicans come election time. Not to mention that it would fail to bring down the cost of health insurance for Americans.
Senator Rand Paul’s health care plan called The Obamacare Replacement Act seems to be a far better strategy to replace the ACA. Senator Paul is a doctor and knows how the healthcare system works. His plan decreases government involvement in health insurance and encourages free-market principles.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should remove the sixty vote threshold for regular legislation. Currently, the Senate has to have sixty votes in order to pass any legislation. This rule allows the minority to rule and is why Washington has been so unproductive the past decade or longer. Senate Republicans can simply hold a vote in which a simple majority can change the rules. At that point the Republicans can easily repeal Obamacare, pass tax reform and carry out President Trump’s agenda. If Mitch McConnell is serious about getting things done then he will do this.
For far too long the Senate rules have clogged up the system and I believe both parties like this because it means they don’t have to do what they say they’ll do on the campaign trail. Republicans and Democrats can say that the rules won’t allow them to do this or that. Meanwhile the swamp water level remains at status quo.
President Trump must begin to immediately unclog the swamp drain or he too will begin to damage his reputation.