President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spelled out dire political consequences for Republicans who opposed the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
In an interview with the Associated Press, McConnell said “I would hate to be a Republican whose vote prevented us from keeping the commitment we’ve made to the American people for almost 10 years now,” that commitment being the repeal of the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare.
Representative Walter Jones (R-NC) told press that President Trump was more direct, saying there would be “political consequences” and that he believed the consequences Trump promised meant that Republicans to vote against the replacement law, the AHCA, might lose their seats in Congress.
The idea that Republicans not in lock-step with the White House may be challenged electorally for this ‘disloyalty’ was echoed by Representative Bill Flores (R-TX) who said, in the same Reuters report as Jones, that President Trump predicted primary challenges against any Republican not to vote for the AHCA. Specifically, said Flores, the President called on Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
“Mark Meadows, he called out two or three times,” Flores told reporters. “The reaction, when he said, ‘Mark Meadows, I’m coming after you’, was pretty loud cheers … I think he was tongue-in-cheek, half joking.”
Following these threats from the McConnell and President Trump, Meadows remained resolute in his opposition to President Trump’s AHCA. Though Meadows told CNN that he and President Trump are not on opposing sides when it comes to the need to replace the Affordable Care Act, he admitted he was concerned about the pressure to vote for a bill he doesn’t support.
“But I can tell you this; I believe when the President understands that this is not going to help millions of people, he’ll be with us, on our side,” Meadows told CNN.
As for the effort to pass the AHCA as it exists now, despite mounting tensions, Meadows remains a solid ‘no’.
“I’m confident that we have still enough concerns that a vote of 216 votes in the House would not happen today,” he said, adding “I’ve had no indication that any of my Freedom Caucus colleagues have switched their votes.”
As for the President’s promised ‘political consequences’, only time and votes will tell what those might be.