Trump Doubles Down On House Freedom Caucus For Opposing Obamacare Repeal

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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President Donald Trump spoke out for the second time against members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) Thursday for not supporting the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

HFC Chairman Mark Meadow proved to be a formidable roadblock for the president and Republican leadership. Meadows was able to whip conservatives into standing against the AHCA, which, in addition to unanimous Democratic opposition, proved to be enough to kill it.

Trump publicly retaliated for the first time against the HFC and Meadows Thursday morning, saying: “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 doubled down Thursday afternoon.

If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan made an impromptu visit to the Oval Office March 24. Trump and Ryan pulled the bill just hours before it was scheduled to go up for a vote on the House floor that afternoon.

Leading up to the vote, Meadows openly spoke out in opposition to both the bill itself and the manner in which leadership handled its roll out. “Our leadership is going to put forth a bill that does not address any of the concerns in a meaningful way and will dare us to vote against it,” Meadows previously told Axios. (RELATED: Here Are The Changes To The GOP Repeal Bill)

The president is adamant that he will push for tax reform and other pro-growth economic policies now that health care reform fell flat in Congress.

Prior to last Friday’s flop, Trump’s message was that tax reform and other policies were impossible until Republicans could repeal and replace Obamacare. Essentially, American taxpayers could expect zero relief until some version of health care reform reaches Trump’s desk.

The president changed his tune the night before calling off the vote, providing lawmakers with an ultimatum: pass the American Health Care Act or keep the Obamacare system. “The message is … it’s done tomorrow, or Obamacare stays,” Rep. Chris Collins told reporters.

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin promises that the administration is now ready to tackle tax and regulatory reform, even if health care reform falls flat in Congress. (RELATED: Mnuchin: We Are Ready ‘Now’ For Tax Reform)

Whatever obstacles health care presents in the coming weeks, the Treasury secretary says that tax reform will “absolutely” be on the table by next fall. “We are going to tax reform simultaneously and comprehensive. That is the president’s object,” Mnuchin previously said.

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