Rep. Ted Poe announced on Sunday his resignation from the House Freedom Caucus. This is the first conservative to leave the caucus because of its opposition to the Republican health care plan. It will be interesting to see if this is just the first casualty in the fallout since Republican leaders pulled the healthcare bill primarily because of conservative opposition.
The Texas Republican said, “In order to deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward. Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead.”
Poe declared that the conservative caucus needs to “change their concept” on CNN’s “New Day.” “The issue was always the conservatives were not brought to the table in the Republican Party,” he said. “Now we’ve been brought to the table.”
House leaders pulled the healthcare bill because they did not have enough votes, this was greatly due to the almost unanimous opposition from The Freedom Caucus. Since the bill was pulled, Republican leadership has stated that they will simply move on from their 7-year promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Now those in support of the caucus will have to face their constituency and the population will have to keep their present health care situation. The House Freedom Caucus shares a large portion of the blame.
Many think that Poe will be the first of many to abandon ship and defect from the group. One legislative aide told CNN, “I feel like they’ve ostracized themselves like they haven’t ever done before, I think this could be a breaking point for the membership of the Freedom Caucus.”
Although the Freedom Caucus was given several olive branches from the present administration, they did not think the regulatory changes were sufficient to drive down premiums. They pushed to repeal the more popular items in Obamacare such as the requirement to cover preexisting conditions. President Trump felt “burned” by their unwillingness to compromise. Some think that The Freedom Caucus had an agenda to send a clear message to Paul Ryan that he had too much power and it would not have mattered what concessions were in the new bill.
Trump wasted little time in responding to what he considered disloyalty among the conservative group, “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Obamacare!,” the President tweeted.
Do you agree with President Trump? Do you think that many will follow Poe in his defection?