President Trump issued a warning on Thursday to the House Freedom Caucus - a group of conservative Republicans that essentially destroyed any probability of President Trump passing his first big piece of legislation by blocking the healthcare bill. President Trump stated that if they did not begin working with other Republicans he would help fight against the Caucus - and Democrats - in the coming 2018 midterm elections.
Grover Norquist, an American political and anti-tax advocate, cited that the president’s frustration stems from the Freedom Caucus members’ behavior during negotiations. Norquist mentioned that “during the health care discussions, the Freedom Caucus would say they’d support him if they got one thing, then they’d want another thing.” It seems that Freedom Caucus members have no interest in making adjustments to Affordable Care Act, or they want to see the health bill removed completely. The approach of the Freedom Caucus members in this matter is bewildering. One would think they would be more proactive in working with President Trump and other house Republicans as they strongly oppose the Affordable Care Act.
Some believe that the priorities of the Freedom Caucus are not in healthcare at the moment. Many are anticipating party infighting over spending priorities in the upcoming month. Congress must pass a spending bill by April 28 to prevent a government shutdown.
President Trump will face a daunting task battling Freedom Caucus members in the midterm elections. Many of them had easy victories and faced very little opposition in their last elections. President Trump would have to recruit GOP candidates and convince the voting residents of the incumbents districts that his recommendations are the better candidates. The Freedom Caucus is composed of about 36 Republican house members. They are essentially 15% of all house Republicans, and since 218 votes are needed to pass legislation, they do have the ability to block any bill from passing the house.