Rep. Toe Poe explained on Monday why he resigned from the House Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline conservative lawmakers who helped block President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s healthcare bill.
Poe said on CNN’s “New Day” that the conservative caucus “continues to be the opposition caucus against anything in the Republican party.”
The Texas congressman argued that while Republican leadership attempted to ignore the concerns of its most conservative members in the past, members were key players in the negotiation of the American Healthcare Act.
“There’s nothing that could be added to the bill that the Freedom Caucus would ever vote yes on,” Poe said. “I got the opinion that there are some members of the Freedom Caucus — they’d vote no against the Ten Commandments if it came up for a vote.”
Poe claimed that although it was “not a perfect bill,” Republicans “promised for years” that they would repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act should they hold the White House.
“We voted 60 times to repeal Obamacare. Then when it came down to repealing it, when it actually counted, people said ‘Nah, I’m not going to vote to repeal the bill,'” Poe said.
Trump and Ryan were forced to pull their healthcare bill from the House after leaders made a large concession to House Freedom Caucus members, removing the essential health benefits requirements which ensure insurers cover basic services under plans including hospitalisation, basic outpatient care, and emergency room visits. The move only placated a few conservative members, while some moderate Republicans said they could not support the bill if it allowed states to choose whether they should require essential health benefits.
For his part, Trump also cast blame on the House Freedom Caucus for refusing to support the bill.
In a tweet on Sunday, the president slammed the House Freedom Caucus and the right-leaning Heritage Foundation’s opposition to the bill.
“Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!” Trump wrote, shortening the term “Obamacare.”
Watch the clip below, via CNN:
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