Conservatives Maintain Hope Obamacare Repeal Is Down The Road

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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While the leadership-backed Obamacare repeal bill was pulled Friday due to a lack of votes, conservative members have not lost hope they can come to a consensus on a measure sometime down the road.

Despite weeks of meetings, lawmakers were unable to strike a deal that satisfied both moderates and members of House Freedom Caucus — leading to the White House advising Republicans to shelf the major legislative goal.

You know I am feeling most saddened by the fact that we didn’t do two very important things,” Arizona Rep. Trent Franks told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “One was to repeal and replace Obamacare and the other was to defund Planned Parenthood. But I am convinced that there are no permanent defeats.”

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, also a member of the Freedom Caucus, said he hopes they can work out a deal in the way they were able to come to a consensus on an immigration bill, which was initially pulled from the floor by then-Speaker John Boehner in 2014. Gohmert said he believes the Obamacare repeal bill would have increased governments role in health care, which he feels would have deepened the problem.

“We’re going to have to work on this and I hope that we can get people from all the different parts of the conference like we did four years ago on the border bill– Boehner tried to ram that through, he wouldn’t let us amend it,” he told TheDCNF. “He tried of course and twist arms and offer carrots and things and he still was short on votes.”

Gohmert said he is confident they can strike a deal on the Obamacare repeal in the future is they use the same strategy as the border bill.

“So it took late till the next night but we had a good bill we could all be proud of all vote for,” he continued. “We could do that again and we could do it with health care.”

He said leadership’s efforts to hold listening sessions were not enough, but Franks noted House Speaker Paul Ryan was in a difficult position in trying to bridge the divide in the party on the issue.

“He had to craft a bill that would fit through the Byrd rule and that naturally stripped off a bunch of conservatives and it made it so that the option was to mollify the moderates who weren’t there,” Franks said. “So he was trying to push a camel through a keyhole and didn’t quite get it all the way through. And the tragedy is that very few people understand what really, really really was the cause of the division in the house.” The Arizona Republican said until the party understands how to close the gap, the same scenario will continue to play out.

Both conservatives and moderates alike have praised President Donald Trump’s efforts to negotiate with members across the party, saying he is not at fault for the shortcoming of votes.

“I think there’s plenty of blame to go around but the truth is that in a republic like ours, when we have great and significant things to do, sometimes there are challenges that just need to employ a little more perseverance to overcome them.” Franks said.

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