GOP Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said he and dozens of members of Congress are willing to delay recess until they complete their work on repealing the Affordable Care Act.
According to Gaetz, members of the different factions of the Republican conference are beginning to congeal on health care reform in the wake of the leadership-backed legislation being pulled from the floor over a lack of consensus between the conservative House Freedom Caucus and relatively moderate Tuesday Group.
“Think about it, we’re 70 days into the Donald Trump presidency and we haven’t put a single substantive piece of legislation on his desk,” Gaetz told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “You know we have botched the Obamacare repeal, we haven’t done tax reform, we haven’t done anything on immigration, and people think we deserve a vacation — that’s ludicrous.”
While numerous meetings took place in an attempt to negotiate a deal that would placate all members of the party, concessions to conservatives began to drive away support of moderates. But after the derailment of the bill, leadership has encouraged members not to point fingers and instead work to unify around legislation they can all support.
Gaetz said detailed policy talks have been taking place since last week, adding that he’s seen some of the most conservative members make progress in coming together with mandates.
“I mean the Freedom Caucus didn’t come up here with hopes of ruining Obamacare repeal,” he told TheDCNF. “They want this law gone as much as the rest of us. So I think they’re working to get the best product they can, and I think we’ve got a diverse caucus, and there are others working to get the best product for their districts.”
Earlier in the week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would like to see work completed before they break for recess, but doesn’t currently have a vote on the schedule before they are set to leave town April 7. Leadership said a vote will be brought to the floor as soon as they are confident they have the votes.
“I think we should just get it all done before,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday. “Time is of the essence.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan has vowed Congress will continue its work on repealing and replacing Obamacare, but doesn’t want to put a timeline in place, arguing it’s too important for them to rush and get wrong.
Gaetz said it will be difficult for them to get the votes needed if changes are made to the Title I regulations, but members are focusing on coming together on altering language on essential health benefits and the community rating system.
The Florida Republican’s comments echo those of House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who also called for a delay in recess until they can reach a consensus.
Meadows said he has been in regular talks with Tuesday Group Co-Chairman Tom MacArthur, but the two groups don’t have a formal meeting on the schedule.
Gaetz said members in the freshman and sophomore classes of Congress are circulating signatures to stay until they complete their work.
“I think we’re coming to grips with the fact that America is tired of hearing about our three buckets,” he said.
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