Trump tries hard to avert defeat of his pet bill to repeal Obamacare | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Trump tries hard to avert defeat of his pet bill to repeal Obamacare

President Donald Trump tried to rally the Freedom Caucus in a closed-door meeting at the White House just hours ahead of a vote on the bill, called American Health Care Act, on the floor of the house of Representatives amid talk of possible defeat.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2017 07:20 IST
Yashwant Raj
President Donald Trump with Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Sevices, at a session on healthcare at the White House in Washington DC on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump with Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Sevices, at a session on healthcare at the White House in Washington DC on Wednesday. (PTI)

They are called the Freedom Caucus, and they hold the key to the fate of a White House-backed legislation moved by the Republican party to repeal and replace Obamacare, which conservatives have railed and ran against for years.

President Donald Trump tried to rally them in a closed-door meeting at the White House just hours ahead of a vote on the bill, called American Health Care Act, on the floor of the house of Representatives amid talk of possible defeat.

With Democrats set to vote against the legislation, Republicans cannot afford to lose more than 21 votes to pass the bill, but they were faced with nearly three dozen members of Freedom Caucus, a group within the Republican party, opposed to it.

It was Representative Mark Meadows, the leader of this group, that Trump threatened — jokingly, the White House added later — to come after during a closed-door meeting with Republican lawmakers earlier in the week. Trump has continued to reach out to Meadows since, through phone calls, but not without any success, as the lawmaker told The Washington Post he doesn’t have a formal offer from the White House yet.

The Freedom Caucus is made of hard-right Republicans who have been a major thorn in side of the party leadership, defeating bills and legislative actions they believe are not conservative enough.

And that’s their chief criticism of the American Health Care Act, introduced by House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and backed by President Trump. They have won some last minute concessions in the negotiations under way.

But the leadership cannot afford to give away too much as that could drive away moderate Republicans, specially those who who represent constituencies that Trump couldn’t carry in his presidential election.