The Freedom Caucuses Role in this HealthCare Debacle: Conservatives vs. Establishment

Sunday morning President Trump aimed a tweet at the Freedom Caucus and Heritage Foundation for the failed repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The day before he blamed Democrats, but this is the first time he has blamed his own party in this whole debate over health care.

“Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!”

The President is right that the freedom caucus stopped the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. However, it’s not because they don’t want to repeal it; it’s that they didn’t think the replacement bill went far enough in repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The American Health Care Act (the republican’s bill) is referred to by the Freedom Caucus as “Obamacare Lite,” or “Obamacare 2.0.” This bill kept most of the regulations, as well as several of the anti-free market measures from the original health care acts inside it.

The Freedom Caucuses purpose is to create a free market alternative and one that is nothing like Obamacare. Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning Senator from Kentucky has a bill the Caucus has already endorsed.

So how can one caucus have so much influence and do more than the democratic party in stopping a republican sponsored bill from passing?

A Republican Caucus has leverage the democrats don’t have; they are republicans fighting against other republicans. If house leadership wants to pass a bill that is in any way anti-free market, they won’t be able to do so because they need votes for that bill to pass. With Democrats not wanting to support any bill Republicans pass, republicans need every vote they can get from their own party to pass legislation. The Freedom Caucus is 30 members strong, and not one of them is willing to support this bill.

So, the bill was unable to pass, which led to Paul Ryan admitting defeat last week.

The big-name conservatives involved in this caucus are also members of the Liberty Caucus; libertarian-leaning Republicans like Justin Amash and Thomas Massie. Massie made headlines last week by changing his vote on the houses bill from “no” to “hell no.” 

Establishment Republicans are not fans of the Freedom Caucus because they are disruptors within the party. They don’t hold on to all the values establishment republicans hold, because they are principled conservative/libertarians. They don’t believe in blind partisanship because they vote based on the principles of their constituency. Which, of course, causes problems for top republicans like Paul Ryan when trying to pass legislation.

Republicans have a majority in Congress. Given that fact, most people would think it would be easy to pass bills. It’s not. There are two distinct sides to this party, and both of them believe in different things.

The Republicans are essentially in the middle of a civil war with two completely different takes on the role of government inside the party. This means passing something like health care will not be easy.

The Freedom Caucus doesn’t bend to republican leadership, nor to the Trump Administration that worked to try to pass this legislation. They prefer principles over party.

What are your thoughts on the Freedom Caucus?