WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a stunning rebuke to House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) announced his public opposition to Obamacare 2.0 on Friday morning.
“Seven years after enactment of Obamacare, I wanted to support legislation that made positive changes to rescue healthcare in America,” Frelinhguysen, who has been lauded as the Garden State’s most powerful congressman, wrote in a Facebook post.
Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey. In addition to the loss of Medicaid coverage for so many people in my Medicaid-dependent state, the denial of essential health benefits in the individual market raise serious coverage and cost issues. I remain hopeful that the American Health Care Act will be further modified. We need to get this right for all Americans.
The House Speaker almost never loses the Appropriations Chairman on major pieces of legislation. The fact Frelinghuysen is against the bill calls into question Ryan’s ability to lead the conference–including his own committee chairs–in the future on other pieces of legislation. It shows just how unpopular this legislation really is GOP-wide, and further demonstrates Ryan’s inability to bring together the different factions of the House Republican conference.
Many more Republicans are expected to vote against Speaker Ryan’s bill, the American Health Care Act–or “Obamacare 2.0” or “Obamacare Lite” or “RyanCare” or “RINO-care”—as it has become known. Other Republicans who are expected to vote against the revised version of the Affordable Healthcare Act include Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), Rep. Tom Budd (R-NC), Rep. David Brat (R-VA), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-SC), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Now that Ryan has lost Frelinghuysen–the chairman of a powerful committee that controls government spending–it is highly unlikely Ryan will be able to deliver the votes on this. That means Ryan is delivering a loss to President Trump, after failing to control his members.