VIDEO Conservatives Find Willing Negotiating Partner in Trump, Not in RINO Ryan, on ObamaCare Repeal

Mar 9, 2017 by Melissa Quinn /


Conservatives in the House and Senate may have come out swinging against the House GOP’s plan to replace Obamacare, but the skeptical lawmakers have stressed that on the future of Obamacare, they’re willing to negotiate.

So far, conservatives seem to have found a willing negotiating partner in President Donald Trump, though the president and his administration have endorsed the House Republican leadership’s Obamacare replacement bill.

But the House’s most powerful Republican, Speaker Paul Ryan, and his deputies appear less willing to play ball with the lower chamber’s right flank.

Soon after two House committees on Monday evening released the text of the highly anticipated health care plan, the American Health Care Act, Trump and top administration officials began courting support from conservative lawmakers and outside groups.

Their target: the members of the roughly 40-member House Freedom Caucus and conservative organizations such as The Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity.

The charm offensive has been ongoing and swift.

Vice President Mike Pence met Tuesday with House Republicans, including members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, to discuss the legislation.

Then, Wednesday afternoon, Trump summoned leaders of key conservative groups who strongly oppose the bill—The Heritage Foundation, its sister organization Heritage Action for America, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and Tea Party Patriots—to talk about the Obamacare replacement plan.

And in a further attempt to gin up support for the proposal, Trump invited skeptical Freedom Caucus members to a night of bowling at the White House next week.

The efforts are part of the White House’s full-court press to get legislation that both repeals and replaces Obamacare, at least in large part, across the finish line.

And the Freedom Caucus is the key faction for the White House to sway.

The lawmakers oppose the timeline for phasing out Obamacare’s expanded eligibility for Medicaid, which the leadership proposal rolls back in 2020, and also creation of advanceable, refundable tax credits based on age to help Americans buy health insurance.

“The first thing Republicans are bringing forward is a piece of legislation that we’re going to put on a Republican president’s desk that says repeal [Obamacare], but keeps Medicaid expansion and actually expands it, that keeps some of the tax increases,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told reporters Tuesday at a press conference.

“That is not what we promised the American people we were going to do,” the former Freedom Caucus chairman said.

Instead, Jordan, along with Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, and other conservative lawmakers have stressed that the vehicle for Obamacare’s repeal already exists: the 2015 bill to dismantle the health care law’s key provisions that passed both chambers of Congress but was vetoed by President Barack Obama.

Though conservatives ideally would like to see GOP leaders bring up the 2015 bill once again—Jordan and Paul actually introduced that same legislation this week in their respective chambers—they’re not opposed to negotiating.

“This is the beginning of the negotiation,” Paul said at the press conference Tuesday. “The House Freedom Caucus’ power and the power of several conservatives in the Senate is to withhold our support and to make it better. If they have 218 votes, we won’t get any change.”

In the House, the Obamacare replacement plan needs 218 votes, a majority, to pass. So Ryan can’t afford to lose more than 19 votes.

Conservatives already have attempted to use the legislative process to tweak the bill’s phaseout of the Medicaid expansion.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, a Freedom Caucus member, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced amendments in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to freeze new enrollment in Medicaid expansion at the enhanced federal matching rate—95 percent for 2017, with a decrease to 90 percent for 2020 and beyond—at the end of this year.

The current plan phases out the Medicaid expansion in 2020. Until then, states would still be able to enroll residents with a federal matching rate of 90 percent.

Beginning in 2020, new Medicaid enrollees would receive the traditional federal matching rate, an average of 57 percent.

Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., also a Freedom Caucus member, introduced an amendment instituting a work requirement for childless adults who are on Medicaid.

Both amendments received the support of the 170-member Republican Study Committee, a group of lawmakers who tend not to be as conservative as those in the small Freedom Caucus.

But Barton withdrew his amendment from the Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, after the panel held a 27-hour markup of the Obamacare replacement plan.

So far, it’s not only conservatives who are willing to negotiate. Leaders of conservative groups who met Wednesday with Trump said he, too, seems willing to play ball.

“I’m encouraged because the president is listening to those of us who have concerns about the American Health Care Act, and because he understands that we want to help him keep his promise to repeal Obamacare and to prevent health insurance prices from skyrocketing further,” Jenny Beth Martin, president of Tea Party Patriots, told The Daily Signal.

Martin was one of the conservative leaders who met with Trump and other aides in the Oval Office.

The Tea Party Patriots leader said Trump didn’t make any commitments to changing parts of the bill that conservatives dislike, such as the Medicaid expansion or tax credits, but instead listened to what they had to say.

Instead, Martin said Trump outlined a three-pronged approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare: pass the American Health Care Act, take administrative action through Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, then pass more legislation to complete reform of the health care system.

Trump told the conservative leaders that many of their concerns could be addressed in step three. Ryan has been saying much the same.

Conservative groups have come out in fierce opposition to the House GOP leadership’s Obamacare replacement plan.

But after meeting with Trump, Martin and other leaders, among them FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon, struck a more positive note on the direction of the bill.

“Republicans right now have a tremendous opportunity,” Martin said. “I’m going to keep a little bit of a hopeful, optimistic spirit that they will take advantage of the opportunity the American people have given them.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Brandon called the conversation with Trump “constructive.”

“The concerns that have been raised by Sen. Paul, Sen. Lee, and members of the House Freedom Caucus are real, and we believe that we can negotiate on these provisions, address them in a substantive way, and get to ‘yes’ on this bill and throw Obamacare into the dustbin of history,” Brandon said.

Though conservatives may have a willing negotiator in Trump, Ryan appears to be digging in.

The House speaker has maintained the position that lawmakers constructed the replacement plan over a year’s time, and with ample input from his fellow Republicans.

“This bill was worked on from January to June last year so we could offer our constituents and the American people in our Better Way agenda what we could replace Obamacare with,” Ryan, referencing House Republicans’ reform agenda, told reporters Wednesday. “We ran on it all through the election, and now we’ve translated it through legislation.”

The speaker questioned whether any of the changes conservatives want to see now would pass muster in the Senate.

Republicans are using a budget tool called reconciliation to fast-track Obamacare repeal and replacement through the Senate, where it can pass with 51 votes rather than the 60 normally needed to end debate.

But strict rules govern the budget reconciliation process, and the tool can be used only on bills that change taxes, spending, or the deficit.

Because reconciliation is limited to legislation addressing fiscal policy, Democrats will be ready to challenge any provision of the bill they can argue runs afoul of the Byrd rule.

The Byrd rule was adopted in 1985 to ensure reconciliation is only being used to adjust the budget or reduce the deficit.

Ryan argued that any changes to the bill—including those conservatives urge—could jeopardize its fast-track or “privileged” status and make it subject to a filibuster by Democrats.

“The reconciliation tool is pretty tight,” the speaker said. “That’s why you see a lot of confusion and frustration, understandably so.

“If we put things in this bill that take that privilege off of it, so it’s not reconciliation, [the Senate] won’t even vote on it,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “They will filibuster it, and they won’t even vote on it.”

The House’s No. 2 Republican, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also cast doubt on whether GOP leaders were willing to negotiate.

“I think everybody should get on board,” McCarthy said on “Fox and Friends” on Thursday morning. “This is one of three phases. If you want to see Obamacare replaced, this is the best opportunity to do it. If you want to see replacement that lowers the premiums and actually gives greater quality of care, this is the only option we have going forward.”

But in its current form, the GOP’s proposal is already dead on arrival in the Senate.

Just after it was released, Paul and Lee announced their opposition to the bill.

And pushback from other Republican senators has begun to trickle out since then, including Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who took to Twitter to urge Republican leaders to “start over.”

If more than two senators oppose the legislation in the upper chamber, the Obamacare replacement plan fails.

Despite the growing opposition from Senate Republicans, Ryan has continued to make a hard sell for the replacement plan.

“We have been waiting seven years to do this. The time is now,” the speaker said. “This is the closest we’ll ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, RINO-Wis., insisted Thursday in a professorial PowerPoint presentation that the House leadership’s American Health Care Act is the Republicans’ only hope to repeal and replace Obamacare because of the constraints of Senate rules.

Ryan contends there are certain provisions of Obamacare that can’t be repealed in his bill because of the Senate’s “Byrd Rule,” which stipulates that if a measure doesn’t impact federal finances, it can’t be struck from the bill unless a waiver is passed with a 60-vote supermajority. Republicans have only a 52-48 majority in the Senate.


Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah

But members of the House Freedom Caucus, along with senators such as Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Mike Lee, R-Utah; argue the bill that passed Congress in 2015 through the reconciliation process and was vetoed by President Obama already has proved it can do the job of repealing Obamacare.

It’s the bill that Sen. Paul and co-sponsor Sen. Lee have re-introduced along with companion legislation by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

“If you’re already admitting there is only so much you can do through reconciliation, and we need to have a second bill that will attack one of these other reforms, then let’s just do the clean repeal now that we did in 2015 and deal with the other issues later,” said Conn Carroll, Sen. Lee’s communication’s director, in an interview with WND.

Among other things, the revived 2015 bill would repeal Obamacare’s medical device tax and the so-called Cadillac tax on high-end health plans. It also would reinstate deductions for medical expenses, repeal the so-called “Obamacare slush fund,” eliminate expanded eligibility for Medicaid and prevent taxpayer bailouts for insurance companies.

Earlier Tuesday, Ryan used his weekly press briefing to make a case for the GOP leadership’s bill, which he said is the first prong in a three-pronged strategy.

“This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare,” Ryan said.

“The time is here, the time is now. This is the moment, and this is the closest it will ever happen.

“It really comes down to a binary choice.”

The Freedom Caucus and its allies, however, believe there is a third way. They contend the leadership’s bill creates a new entitlement program through tax credits, and they oppose its expansion of Medicaid and its 30 percent premium penalty for those who choose to drop their insurance coverage for at least two months and want it reinstated.

Ryan said the second prong of the leadership’s plan would be to repeal Obamacare regulations via executive order, followed by passing legislation that would accomplish aims such as allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines.

‘Leave it to the Senate to determine what is doable’

Ryan said Thursday that some of his congressional colleagues are among opponents of his bill who don’t seem to understand that “reconciliation has certain limits.”

“There’s a lot of frustration, a lot of confusion out there, frankly, among conservative groups — and even among members,” he said.


Despite speaking out against sanctuary cities and Syrian refugees House Speaker Paul Ryan has done nothing to defund them. (Photo: Twitter)

House Speaker Paul Ryan

“There are folks,” he continued, “who would love to see us put in this reconciliation bill all these other ideas,” but the measures would be filibustered because of Senate rules.

Lee’s spokesman, Carroll, reacted.

“I think it’s pretty funny that Paul Ryan is trying to tell us what the Senate rules are,” he told WND.

“When they passed the 2015 bill, they said they couldn’t get rid of the Medicaid expansion because of the Senate rules, and they were wrong,” he pointed out.

Ryan and his leadership are “in the House,” Carroll said, “and they should stick to the House rules, and they should leave what is doable in the Senate to us.”

Carroll pointed out the current House leadership plan addresses issues such as abortion, health-care tax credits and illegal immigrants, which would be subject to the Byrd Rule.

“They’re just basically making up out of whole cloth what can and can’t go into this bill,” he said. “I mean they’re not talking to any parliamentarian to come up with this stuff.”

The 2015 bill already has passed reconciliation, he emphasized.

Yuval Levin, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, said in a National Review Online blog post that the 30 percent surcharge on premiums for people who haven’t been continuously insured is unlikely to survive a Byrd Rule challenge.

“Other structural elements of the proposal seem to be functions of a similar process of imaginary negotiation with an imaginary Senate parliamentarian,” he wrote.

In an interview Wednesday, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, asserted Republicans are hiding behind the Byrd Rule to cover for inaction on Obamacare repeal.

“We need to at least be as bold as we were in 2015,” he told the Fox News Channel’s Jon Scott, referring to the bill that has now been re-introduced.

Gohmert insisted the rule hasn’t prevented Congress from enacting health care reforms in the past, noting the Democratic Party used budget reconciliation to pass the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tweeted early Thursday morning his belief that the House bill can’t pass the Senate without “major changes.”

“To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast,” he wrote.

An eye for the marketplace

In his presentation, Ryan made a case for allowing the competitive, free market to function in health care, recounting his personal experience several years ago with Lasik eye surgery.

He pointed out that because insurance companies won’t pay for the procedure, there is a clear price tag for it, unlike most health-care costs.

What’s more, free from the constraints and interference of insurance companies, the cost of Lasik surgery since then has gone down while the quality has gone up.

“I think at the end of the day, Congressman Ryan and Senator Lee have very common views of what the ideal health-care policy will be,” Carroll said. “But we also live in a world where we have Senate filibuster rules, and Republicans don’t control 60 seats in the Senate, so there’s only so much we can do through the reconciliation process.

“So, if we could write whatever bill we wanted, I think Paul Ryan and Senator Lee would end up in much the same place.”

The question is how best to try to get there.

Carroll said Lee met with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price Wednesday morning and had dinner with Vice President Pence that evening to discuss his differences with the leadership’s plan.

“Price seemed receptive to the changes that Senator Lee brought forward, but we’ll see if those are at all incorporated,” Carroll said.

Asked the senator’s response to the warning to House Republicans Tuesday from President Trump, who has endorsed the Ryan plan, that they would suffer an electoral “bloodbath” if they didn’t repeal and replace Obamacare, Carroll replied: “All the more reason we need to pass the 2015 repeal bill.”

“We campaigned on that, we voted for it in 2015 and ran on it last year in 2016, and the people of Utah re-elected Senator Lee and they expect us to uphold our promise and vote for that again,” he said.

‘Delicate procedure’

As WND reported Tuesday, along with conservative members of Congress, the GOP leadership’s plan already has been rejected by major think tanks on Capitol Hill, including Heritage Action, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth.

Rachel Bovard, director of policy services for the Heritage Foundation, told WND she thinks the American Health Care Act, as written, cannot make it through reconciliation in the Senate.

“Paul Ryan is right. Reconciliation is a very delicate procedure to work with in the Senate,” she said.

“But that’s why the 2015 bill is so important, because it did pass reconciliation.”

Bovard said conservatives are saying: “Let’s just bring this bill back. We know it can pass. It already passed. It just got vetoed by Obama. Now we have Trump; it will pass this time.”

She described Ryan’s bill as “partial repeal, partial replace, partial repair.”

The 2015 bill, she noted, contains a two-year phase-out of Obamacare, meaning people will not lose coverage immediately.

“And in that window, that’s when you have the full, transparent debate about what should replace Obamacare,” she said.

“You don’t want to replace Obamacare with a Republican Obamacare, which is kind of what Paul Ryan’s bill does,” Bovard said. “You want to actually fix the marketplace and institute free-market reforms that make coverage more accessible and affordable for everybody.”

She said the Heritage Foundation “has always said if you try to repeal and replace Obamacare simultaneously, you will end up doing neither.”

Bovard acknowledged that any replacement measures would need 60 votes in the Senate.

“Democrats are never going to want to support replace options, but at least if you’ve actually repealed Obamacare — if they pass the 2015 bill again — then the pressure is on them to support replace,” she argued.

At the moment, she said, Democrats “can oppose everything, because Obamacare is still there.”

“But once you take that away, and in an election year you force them to be obstructionist about fixing the health-care market, it’s a much worse position for them to be in,” Bovard reasoned.

She said the 30 percent penalty in the Ryan bill is “very similar to the Obamacare solution, which is, ‘We’re going to punish you if you don’t buy health care.’”

The problem it’s trying to solve she said is to ensure that there are enough healthy people in the risk pool as possible.

“The way you encourage participation in the marketplace is by actually allowing the market to work,” Bovard said.

That would include creating larger risk pools by opening up the market across state lines and putting catastrophic health care back on the market.

“Conservatives are saying, look, if you want to incentivize people to purchase health care, make it easier for them,” she said. “Allow them to purchase plans that they want to buy.”

Chris McDaniel Blasts ‘Republican Surrender Caucus’ Over Obamacare Bill

 10 Mar 2017 by Dan Riehl

Chris McDaniel, Mississippi State Senator, said to beconsidering a US Senate run in Mississippi in 2018, joinedBreitbart News DailySiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Friday on the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill.

Said McDaniel, “As we stand here today we know this plan is not a repeal even though for the past several years, that’s precisely what we’ve been promised.”

“We have this historical moment,” he added, “with all this momentum and here we are again, the Republican surrender caucus taking it upon themselves to quit right when the battle is about to get started.”

When asked why that seems to be the case, McDaniel responded, “Because it’s the nature of who they are as politicians, unfortunately. we’ve seen this time and time again. They campaign as limited government conservatives, they govern like big government Republicans.”

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.




About ror1774

This Blog is for modern day Patriots who want to Reclaim Our Republic and put it on the right path with a foundation of our Constitution and our Creator God.
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