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Rep. Poe: Trump Shouldn't Give in to Dems on Future Health Bill

Newsmax TV's "America Talks Live"

By    |   Monday, 27 Mar 2017 02:24 PM

Rep. Ted Poe — who dramatically quit the House Freedom Caucus he founded after members refused to back the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — told Newsmax TV it would be a mistake for President Donald Trump to now give concessions to the Democrats in order to enact a future health bill.

"The president wants to get something passed – I don't believe the answer is to get the Democrats onboard," Poe, a Texas Republican told host Steve Malzberg on Monday's "America Talks Live."

"But the president wants to get the Democrats onboard, and if we get another bill, which I don't think we're going to do, it's going to be much more accommodating to the Democrats, and that's a mistake.

"It'll be less conservative because the conservatives, the Freedom Caucus, is not going to support any bill except a pure bill, and that is never going to happen. So, the president wants to try to move the country forward, and now he has to work with Democrats. That's very unfortunate."

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Poe said he was saddened by the fact, after years of promises by Republican lawmakers to repeal and place former President Barack Obama's signature legislation, the party could not get it together and do it.

"Republicans are in charge, we have the majority, we can set the rules, we can make the legislation like we wanted, and now we have the situation where we're really failing to lead," Poe told Malzberg.

Poe said he had created the Freedom Caucus to "get a voice at the table."

"We conservatives have been cut out of the loops for years," Poe said. "We formed the Freedom Caucus so that we can have an input, and we finally got that input this year when we had the majority. The Freedom Caucus had a lot of input into this bill.

"We met with the president for over an hour and a half, and the vice president and the Cabinet, and changes were made to accommodate what the Freedom Caucus wanted, but at the end of the day, they continued to say, as a group, 'No.'

"We have to lead, and you've got to say 'Yes,' even though it wasn't the perfect bill. Now we're stuck with Obamacare. And the whole purpose of running this year and the last several years was: 'We're going to repeal Obamacare.'"

Poe said those same members who ultimately helped torpedo the AHCA, had voted dozens of times over the years to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"But, when it counted, they got cold feet," he said. "They wouldn't do it – they made excuses. So, it's time for me to leave that group and be a more of an independent conservative in the House."

Before the House pulled the AHCA from a vote Friday, the Freedom Caucus had met several times with Trump to discuss its concerns, Poe said.

"We had lively discussions, as we should," he added. "We disagreed, but I was convinced that many members of the caucus were never going to say 'Yes' to a bill ever. I think they would've voted against the Ten Commandments if it came up for a vote, so I could not convince them."

And with the Affordable Health Care Act now dead, it will be more difficult for the commander in chief to achieve his next goal: a large tax cut.

"The president said he's moving on to taxes," Poe said. "I think that's going to be much more difficult. That's why he took the easiest legislation first to get passed, and it didn't pass.

"I hope we have learned our lesson that we have to work together, we have to compromise, get us as conservative bill as possible and pass legislation to lead in the country. That is our job. Our job is not to continue to be the protest caucus. We have to be progressive, if I can use that word."

Asked by Malzberg why tax reform will be harder to achieve, Poe said: "Because so many people disagree on what we should do with the tax system. We'll have a legislation where it's already in the works, where Republicans are coming out against [it] . . . I see that as a real problem because we may end up in the same situation.

"We can't get a bill that is better than the current obstructionist tax code, and we have the highest corporate income tax in the world, and so I see a lot of people already say 'I'm a no, I'm a no.'

"We'll have the same issue with infrastructure, because we're going to have to find some money to pay for that infrastructure. I think there will be difficulties in both of those issues."

The House Freedom Caucus was founded in 2015 to give "a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them" and "support open, accountable and limited government."

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Rep. Ted Poe, who quit the House Freedom Caucus he founded, told Newsmax TV it would be a mistake for President Donald Trump to now give concessions to the Democrats in order to enact a future health bill.
Ted Poe, Democrats, House Freedom Caucus
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2017-24-27
Monday, 27 Mar 2017 02:24 PM
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