Some members of the Freedom Caucus would have voted against the American Health Care Act no matter what changes had been included, but at some point, they need to learn to say yes and lead, Rep. Ted Poe, who dropped out of the House Freedom Caucus he helped found, said Monday.
"There's some members, I think, who wanted some strong parts of the repeal in the bill, but it would move too far to the right where you wouldn't get other Republicans to support it," the Texas Republican told CNN's "New Day" program.
"There was nothing that could be added to the bill that the Freedom Caucus would ever vote yes on," he said. "So, I got the opinion that there's some members of the Freedom Caucus, they would vote no against the Ten Commandment the if they came up for a vote."
Republicans, he continued, promised for years to repeal Obamacare, but when it came down to repealing it, "where it counted," members of the Freedom Caucus backed out.
"We were included in the process," Poe told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program. "The president, Speaker [Paul] Ryan came to the Freedom Caucus and made some changes that we wanted several times. But no matter what changes were made, the goal post kept getting moved and at the end of the day no was the answer. And sometimes you are going to have to say yes."
Poe continued that he was going to vote for AHCA, "because Obamacare is now the law of the land and it's a disaster."
The Texas lawmaker said he does not know if anyone else plans to leave the Freedom Caucus and he can't answer for them. However, he does know that the caucus' members were not united in opposing the AHCA.
"I think there were two-thirds opposed to the bill," said Poe. "About a third of us wanted to go ahead and vote for the bill because as you said, we spent an hour-and-a-half with the president of the United States, with the vice president, and members of the cabinet and talking about trying to make this bill better."
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Poe said he also does not think it would have made a difference if the vote would have been postponed.
He also disagrees with comments that Republicans were saved by the vote's cancellation.
"Saved ourselves from what?" said Poe. "We didn't save ourselves at all. Obamacare is the law of the land, and that's unfortunate. Members of the House of Representatives, Republicans voted 60 times to repeal the bill. Now, when it actually counts to repeal the bill and replace it some, they backed off. They got cold feet."
Poe also appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, where he said he believes the Freedom Caucus opposed the bill because it did not get the "perfect, pure bill that they wanted," but if that happened, other Republicans would not have voted for it.
He also said he believes the Freedom Caucus has shifted from its original goals.
"[It] has always been the opposition, mainly opposition of the liberal agenda," he said. "Now that we are in power, the Republicans, it continues to be the opposition party in the Republican Party."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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