The House GOP is facing a difficult battle to pass its healthcare bill, but one GOP member is willing to stand up to Democrats and some conservative groups who are pressing the president to allow his party to pass the measure.
“I’m not going to be intimidated by the Democrats,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said Wednesday.
“I’m going to fight them.”
Democrats have been fighting the House Republican healthcare bill for more than a year, with the party’s leadership trying to keep up the pressure on Trump to abandon the legislation.
But the White House and Trump have both acknowledged that the bill will fail to garner enough support to pass, and the president has repeatedly threatened to veto the legislation if it doesn’t pass.
The president has made clear that he wants his party, including Democrats, to take a harder line on healthcare, particularly after a series of high-profile healthcare incidents this month.
He has threatened to shut down the government unless the GOP passes his health care legislation.
In a tweet earlier this week, Trump said he would veto the bill unless he could secure enough votes from GOP lawmakers to allow him to keep the government open.
The White House also suggested that Republicans would be willing to accept a smaller package of tax increases, including one to fund health insurance for the elderly.
In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Meadows said the president’s threat to shut the government over the bill had prompted him to step up his pressure on the House GOP leadership to bring the bill to the floor.
“When I hear from him he said, ‘I’m willing to go to the House floor and do it, but only if you can do it without killing the American people and the American economy,'” Meadows said.
“And I was like, ‘Yeah, but you’re gonna kill the American job, and you’re going to kill the economy, and if you do that, then I’m not gonna go to Congress and say, ‘You know, we’re going not to pass this bill, we need to make sure that we get a bigger package of changes.'”
Meadows said that, while he’s willing to sacrifice his political career to get a better bill passed, he’s not willing to risk the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of American families.
“We’re going back to work and we’re not going back until we get this done, but if we don’t do this, I’m going back home to North Carolina, where I grew up and where my father grew up,” Meadows said in the interview.
“We’re not gonna be here to see the end of the Trump administration, but at least we’re here for a little bit.”