The Freedom Caucus Says Trumpcare Will Fail

Written by SK Ashby

House Republican leadership can only afford to lose 21 votes tomorrow if every Democrat opposes Trumpcare, which they will, and the Freedom Caucus may have just sealed the deal.

Members of the Batshit Caucus met with the White House this morning, but a caucus spokesperson said at least 25 members will vote No and several influential members also say their meeting at the White House didn't sway anyone.

"Nothing has changed," Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) told reporters after the meeting.

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) told reporters that many members of the caucus still weren't ready to get on board after the meeting. [...]

When asked if the Trump administration seemed open to making changes to the bill, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told reporters: "Not really."

I don't want to start break-dancing just yet, but the bill's chances of passing seem shaky. And in any event, the bill is almost certainly dead-on-arrival in the Senate.

The problem for Republicans in both chambers is that amending the bill to please their most conservative members will render the bill unacceptable to other members and, in the case of the Senate, amending the bill to please conservatives would preclude it from the reconciliation process.

Reconciliation cannot be used to make regulatory changes and regulatory changes are what members of the Batshit Caucus and senators like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul want. They want to eliminate coverage requirements and other regulations included in Obamacare, but including those in the bill would mean it could be filibustered.

Speaker Paul Ryan has promised to make regulation changes in his so-called "three-pronged approached" but, as we've covered before, there's no guarantee those changes will ever materialize.

It's entirely possible more than 25 members of the Freedom Caucus will vote against Trumpcare tomorrow, but we won't know for certain until the vote actually takes place. Speaker Ryan reportedly plans to hold a vote on the bill even if they know they don't have enough votes to pass it.

If Trumpcare fails tomorrow, some Republicans will be tempted to kick the can down the road and move on to tax reform. If they do, that could also fail for similar reasons. Trumpcare and the GOP's tax reform agenda both include massive tax cuts for the rich.

If Trumpcare does pass the House tomorrow, it will be a setback, but far from the end of the story.