NO CIGAR

Freedom Caucus: White House Meeting Couldn’t Convince Us to Save Trumpcare

Members of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus said they were not swayed on the AHCA by the latest meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials on Wednesday. “Nothing has changed,” libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash told reporters after the White House meeting. Rep. Raul Labrador, among several others, said the Trump administration still didn’t seem open to making any further, significant changes to the Obamacare-repeal bill championed by the White House and House Republican leadership.

Following the White House meeting—which also included Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon making what one Freedom Caucus aide characterized to The Daily Beast as “half-hearted reassurances that the Senate would take care of things"—members of the caucus headed to the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill to discuss the GOP repeal-and-replace efforts. In that meeting, members reaffirmed their stated commitment to killing the current form of Trumpcare.

Outside the congressional meeting room, Rep. Mo Brooks told reporters that it would be “good for the country” if the AHCA, as is, tanked. Meadows again said he cannot support the AHCA “as it stands.” When asked by The Daily Beast if he thinks there will even end up being a vote on Thursday, he replied, “You know, that’s a good question for the Speaker.” Guests of the caucus’s meeting Wednesday afternoon included Republican senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and Cato Institute healthcare wonk Michael Cannon. Cannon told The Daily Beast that he emphasized to members in the room that voting for, and then implementing, Trumpcare would be "worse than doing nothing" about Obamacare.

As of one day before the scheduled floor vote, caucus members and aides remain confident they will beat leadership on this one. “Their whip count is wrong,” a House Freedom Caucus aide told The Daily Beast on Tuesday, and reiterated Wednesday. “We’re taking [Trumpcare] down.”

—Asawin Suebsaeng