Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) hosted a small group of allied outside group leaders to thank them for their support for his American Health Care Act, Ryancare, and to talk with them about his next attempt to bring the bill to the House floor.
During a short photo availability, or spray, for Capitol Hill photographers and videographers, the speaker made a brief statement: “We believe in the principles of conservatism. We believe in liberty, free markets. We believe in life, the Constitution–these are important principles that we have an historic opportunity to make good on.”
Ryan said the people at the meeting were conservatives he had been working with for 20 years: Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform; Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union; Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List; Thomas Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, American Action Forum; Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice; Daniel Weber, Association of Mature American Citizens; Ralph Reed, Faith and Freedom Coalition; Ryan Ellis, Conservative Reform Network; Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute; Darla St. Martin, National Right to Life Committee; Pete Sepp, National Taxpayers Union; and Karen Kerrigan, SBE Council.
“These are leaders of the conservative movement who’ve been toiling, day in and day out, for many years to make good on our principles,” the speaker said.
“We had a setback last week, but we’re not going to let that get us down,” he said. “We’re going to talk about how we move forward and advance this agenda and truly seize this historic opportunity we have in front of us to improve people’s lives and make a difference and advance these conservative principles.”
After the meeting, Dannenfelser told Breitbart News that the Ryancare bill was a very good bill for the pro-life movement, but many of the strongest pro-life congressmen were against the bill for other reasons.
The Ryancare bill defunded Planned Parenthood and made permanent the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funds for abortions, she said.
“We have to convince them that voting for the bill, when the bill is pro-life, is the top priority,” she said. “We need to convince them that this really is the salient moment and to let it go would be a huge mistake.”
Norquist told Breitbart News the meeting was very productive and a good way to keep supporters of the American Health Care Act informed about the speaker’s plans to bring the bill back to the floor.
“We just talked about how important it was,” he said.
“The speaker wanted to thank everybody who had been working on the bill to cut taxes a trillion dollars, cut spending a little more than a trillion dollars, expand HSA’s–the effort to repeal Obamacare and reform the healthcare system.” Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) are structured like an individual retirement account with tax-advantaged funds available for medical expenses.
Norquist said one of the take-aways from the meeting was that all the other parts of the Republican agenda are being held up by the failure to pass the Ryancare bill.
“The stone that kills health reform also kills tax reform and all the outside groups got that and recognized it,” he said.
Schlapp told Breitbart News he would not discuss the details of the meeting, but it thought it was a positive meeting.
“I think everybody understands the importance of getting health care done right,” he said.
“My view? It would be political malpractice to go back to the voters and say: ‘Hey, we tried. Couldn’t get that done and we’re just kind of moving on.’ That is not going to work. We’ve been talking about this for almost the entirety of Obama’s presidency.”