Conservatives House Members: Vote on a Straight Repeal of Obamacare

By Theresa Smith | July 14, 2017 | 12:23 PM EDT

Rep. Matthew Gaetz (R-Fla.)

(Screenshot.) 

(CNSNews.com) -- When asked if Congress had enough votes to pass a repeal of Obamacare, Rep. Matthew Gaetz (R-Fla.) said we should “call the bluffs” of Republicans who passed a repeal of Obamacare in 2016, but today say “now that we could actually get it done, I find myself wringing my hands, wetting the bed, and hiding under a table somewhere.”

At the Conversations with Conservatives discussion in the Rayburn House Office Building on Thursday, several conservative House members voiced their support of putting a full repeal of Obamacare up for vote and criticized Republicans for not following up on their campaign promise to repeal it.

A reporter asked, “I want to go back to what Congressmen Biggs said about the idea of outright repeal of the Afford Care Act. The president mentioned that as an alternative plan now before the Senate. It really did not come as much as a surprise, because they voted for this before and the House voted for it before.

“My question is twofold. One: Is there the votes in the House to actually have outright repeal, period? And two: What do you say when you get the very predictable charge from Democrats, almost certain, ‘people will lose their healthcare’?”

Rep. Andrew Biggs (R-Ariz.)  (AZcentral) 

Freshman Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) answered, “Well, my position is real simple. I don’t think Mr. Gaetz or I have ever had the chance to vote on an absolute repeal, number one. Number two, you don’t know whether there’s the votes there because it never got put up here.”

He continued, “But it was always put up and voted on when we didn’t have a president who would sign such a bill. So my position has always been, let’s go ahead and put that thing on the floor. Let’s get it up there and look at the board of truth. And that’s what the voting board light’s about.”

“And if we do that, I would hope that we would have enough, because everybody on the Republican side ran on repeal, and this is a way to do it,” said Biggs.

“Now that’s number one,” he stated. “And the second part of your question is, I think, that if we do the delayed repeal that I suggest, you have plenty of time to put in whatever market-based solutions that you need to put in to make health insurance affordable and patients better.”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) pointed out that everyone except the freshman congressmen voted to repeal Obamacare, and it did not “cost you an election.” He said, “It’s not going to cost the majority. We all took that vote in the House and the Senate, and we came back. We all came back. So politically it’s right, as well as the right thing to do.”

Rep. David Brat (R-Va.) and Rep Jim Jordan (R-Ariz) added that the Freedom Caucus reintroduced a repeal bill with identical language to the one the House and Senate passed during the Obama administration. “It was a Rand Paul, Mark Sanford in the House, repeal bill, and [GOP] leadership would not allow that on the House Floor.”

Rep. Gaetz said, “And sometimes when we get to talking about what we have the votes for, we seem to fall victim to our own mythology. You know, I’ve had folks tell me, in leadership, not in the leadership, ‘Oh, well, if we put the vote on -- the legislation on the floor that members of the 114th Congress had voted for dozens of times, we wouldn’t have the votes.’”

“There is no evidence to support that claim. And I think that history would tell us that saying, ‘I was for it before I was against it’ isn’t a winning political strategy,” Gaetz stated.

“And so, I think we should call the bluffs of those who say, ‘Well, when it wasn’t real, I was willing to vote to repeal Obamacare, but now that we could actually get it done, I find myself wringing my hands, wetting the bed, and hiding under a table somewhere,’” said Gaetz.