House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) tells Breitbart News exclusively that he expects House Republicans will unite around common principles and pass an Obamacare repeal and replace bill that lowers premiums for Americans soon—delivering President Donald Trump a major victory in the Congress’s lower chamber.
Meadows, a pro-Trump conservative leader in the House who stuck with the president throughout the entire campaign, is confident that renewed negotiations—with the help of senior White House officials—with House GOP leaders and House Republican moderates is likely to produce real results in the House.
Meadows told Breitbart News on Tuesday afternoon:
I’m optimistic that we’ve at least found some potential common ground. Conservative requests and those from those that represent districts that may have a more moderate constituency don’t want to suggest anything other than the discussions have been extremely good over the last 72 hours and the pre-existing conditions that must be addressed on behalf of the president and certainly most members of our GOP conference including myself, that issue is where we’re working very diligently to make sure we cover it in the legislation but then we also cover it in a number of ways whether it be through a risk-sharing pool or through a guaranteed issue provision that’s out there. So, we still believe providing waivers at the state level from many of the Obamacare mandates that drive up costs might be a real path forward so I would say that conversations between moderates and conservatives are very constructive and it’s been due in no small part to the active involvement of the White House and leadership in trying to make sure we get a good bill—a better bill—going forward over to the Senate.
Meadows’ comments come a few weeks after the first such bill—the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from House Speaker Paul Ryan—failed to garner enough support, with moderates and Freedom Caucus members lining up against the Ryan bill. Moderates like Tuesday group co-chairman Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), Appropriations chairman Rep. Rodney Frelinguysen (R-NJ); Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Mark Amodei (R-NV), and many more joined many Freedom Caucus members in opposition to the Ryan bill.
The Ryan bill also faced fierce opposition in the Senate, where Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and more raised concerns with the bill. Conservative leaders dubbed Ryan’s bill “RyanCare,” “RINO-Care,” “Obamacare Lite” or “Obamacare 2.0,” among other derogatory names, as it failed to deliver.
Paul, in an interview with Breitbart News, detailed how Ryan was misleading President Trump on the level of support the bill actually had, as the bill was doomed to fail from the beginning—and media such as Breitbart News were reporting on its grim prospects for weeks in advance of an eventually twice-called-off-before-failure vote on the House floor. When the bill was pulled once and for all, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that maybe it was for the best—and that he expected a better bill.
Meadows’ deputy chief of staff Wayne King, one of the key conservative House staffers leading the way in helping implement Trump’s agenda in the House, told Breitbart News that Meadows is aiming to help President Trump at every turn.
“Chairman Meadows remains committed to implementing President Trump’s agenda to Make America Great Again, and that includes repealing and replacing Obamacare with a better healthcare system with lower premiums, more competition and stronger consumer choices,” King told Breitbart News. “As the White House works to undo the damage caused by the previous president on healthcare and so many other issues, we stand firm with President Trump committed to a more prosperous America.”
Meadows predicted that the renewed negotiations—which were first reported by USA Today’s Eliza Collins, reporting on Tuesday from Meadows’ North Carolina district—would be successful in passing the House and getting a better bill, as Trump promised. Meadows said:
I can tell you the president has communicated to me on more than four different occasions that he wants the very best bill possible for the American people and that he believes that not only will we get a better bill but with everyone’s input—not just conservative members, but conservatives, moderates and those that are in between—that we’ll get a better bill and we’ll shock the American people when they actually see their healthcare insurance premiums come down. I’m confident we’re going to get there mainly because the president literally not only wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, but the other part of that is he wants to drive down premiums for all Americans.
Meadows added, too, that the Trump White House has been instrumental in delivering this part of the agenda for the president and leading in helping with the negotiations. He said:
The involvement from the White House in particular on getting an agreement has been nothing short of just remarkable. To have the day-to-day interaction on behalf of the White House on delivering on campaign promises would touch on even the greatest skeptic that would dare to mention that Washington, D.C., is the same as it always has been. He’s delivering on it, and we’re glad to have played a very small part in helping him to deliver on that campaign promise.
Meadows also said that he expects by the 200-day mark that President Trump—with Republicans conference-wide, especially the House Freedom Caucus, at his side—will be able to hammer home more than 20 campaign promises delivered:
We’re committed to not only helping him deliver that [healthcare reform] but also helping him make sure that campaign promise is one of the first dozen or so that he’s been able to deliver on. I’m hopeful that by the end of his first 200 days in office, he’ll have more than 20 campaign promises that he will have delivered on. He’s on a good pace and clip to do just that.
The USA Today report noted that Meadows is in “frequent conversation” with Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence, and House Tuesday Group co-chairman Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) in recent days, and that if the plan reaches “consensus” soon, “the House may come back from recess to vote.” That would be a remarkable development, as the House is scheduled to be on recess for the next couple of weeks—and any return from recess to deliver Trump this win would go a long way.