The Republican Florida congressman who gave his legs serving in Afghanistan before running for Congress in 2016 told Breitbart News on Friday that the rollout of the RyanCare bill one week ago did not build confidence with House Republicans.
“The rollout could have been much, much stronger,” said Rep. Brian Mast (R.-Fla.), who is a medically retired Army staff sergeant after serving as an explosive ordnance specialist with special operations personnel at the time of his accident.
President Donald Trump did his job in his address to a joint session of Congress, but the rollout of the bill did not have the battlefield preparations that used to govern his life deployed overseas, he said.
“We call it pre-assault fires,” he said. “Those pre-assault fires need to be a lot more robust than what they were. It’s not a one and done.”
The congressman does not sit on the committees that will address the American Health Care Act supported by Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.), and he did not commit to voting for the bill, which still must pass the Budget and Rules committees before it comes to the House floor.
There is still a lot of discussion going on about how to repeal-and-replace the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, he said.
“I think Republicans across the board, even those in the Freedom Caucus, want to get to yes,” he said.
“Everybody wants to get to yes. Everybody wants to get to individuals being able to control their own healthcare. Everybody wants to get to preventing Medicaid from becoming a trillion-dollar entitlement over the course of the next couple years,” he said. “Everybody wants to get to the good things that can result. Everybody wants to get to that point but everybody is not there yet.”
Mast told Breitbart News that it is now up to Trump to get involved in a more public way, so it is clear that this is the plan he wants that meets his promises.
“I’ve even heard people go so far as to say President Trump was duped into thinking this,” he said. “That’s why I’m saying right now; he needs to make very clear if this is what he wants and this is what he’s pushing for, and this is what he believes in, then he needs to make that very, very clear.”
Vice President Mike Pence has been a constant go-between for Capitol Hill Republicans and the White House, but it is all going to come down to Trump, he said. “Pence is behind the scenes every single day, Tom Price is behind the scenes every single day,” Price is the secretary of Health and Human Services and the former Georgia Republican congressman who authored the 2015 bill fully repealing Obamacare that passed the House and Senate in the last session.
“If this is his baby and he believes in it, then he needs to message it that way,” the combat veteran said. “Be very clear about the pros and cons, what can be done now, what can’t be done right now, and why something can be done later.”
If the president does not step in and back the American Health Care Act bill, it is not going to pass, he said.