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Despite an ultimatum from President Donald Trump, conservative members of the House of Representatives have continued their attacks on the GOP leadership’s healthcare bill on the day of a pass-or-fail vote.
Some members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative representatives, have said the American Health Care Act does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare, the law known formally as the Affordable Care Act, and have expressed their intention to vote against the bill.
“No, I’m not ready to surrender on an issue as important as Obamacare,” Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama said in an interview with CNBC on Friday. “I am going to vote against it because it is one of the worst bills I have seen in my 30 years as a county commissioner, legislator, district attorney, and now congressman. It’s very, very bad in a variety of ways.”
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told House Republicans in a meeting late Thursday to pass the AHCA, saying Trump would move on and leave Obamacare in place if it did not pass.
Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a Freedom Caucus member who has described himself as a “hell no” on the AHCA, said Trump’s ultimatum undermined the US’s system of government.
“If Exec branch tells Legislative branch ‘when 2 vote’ ‘how 2 vote’ & ‘what it will b allowed 2 work on if vote fails,’ is that a republic?” Massie tweeted Friday.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who has been vocal about his distaste for the bill, calling it “Obamacare 2.0,” also used Twitter to attack GOP leadership for editing the bill and leaving some members in the dark about the changes.
Amash was one of four Republican representatives who voted against a measure that will allow the final version of the AHCA to be released and voted on in the same day.
“We must have the opportunity to read and understand the final bill before we vote,” Amash tweeted. “It’s irresponsible to do otherwise.”
Some conservatives in the Freedom Caucus, however, have softened their stances.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee had been leaning toward voting “no” on the bill but shifted to undecided, calling the vote “a really tough choice.” Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina also moderated his tone Thursday night, telling Politico he was undecided.
But a good portion of the roughly 35-member Freedom Caucus still appears to be against the AHCA and plans to vote against the bill.
Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Thursday that it had “not gotten enough of our members to get to yes at this point” to pass the AHCA.
After meeting with the group on Wednesday and Thursday, the president lambasted the group on Twitter on Friday morning for its stance against the bill.
A Republican source close to the discussion told Business Insider that a final vote on the bill would most likely take place Friday after 4 p.m.