White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was a major part in trying to get Republican votes for the GOP healthcare bill, but things went sour when he reportedly told the House Freedom Caucus they had “no choice” but to vote for the bill. Clearly in politics, things are never going to be easy. In the world of business when you’re the owner and main boss, you can get things done and everyone will follow. However, the same cannot be said in Washington, D.C.
No matter what, people will always have their own opinion. Everyone in Congress gets a vote as well when it comes to forming and then passing laws. The president does have executive order power to do many things that can affect the country, but in certain areas this power is not possible to use. That is why Congress was the real people in charge when it came to the change in healthcare. They were the only ones who could pass it through so that the president could pass it as a law.
Obviously, Republicans have waited around seven years to repeal and ultimately replace Obamacare. This time around, they had all the cards. They controlled Congress and had the White House. All they had to do was agree and anything they wanted to pass would most likely go through pretty easy. However, again politics are not easy and to think that is when people ultimately fail in the end. The GOP healthcare bill did not pass, but it seemed as if everything was done to force it.
In fact, it was reported that President Trump had basically threatened members of Congress by saying that he would remember those who voted no on the bill. He also blamed them for Obamacare and what comes from it being on their hands. It seemed that Trump took his tone from Steve Bannon who spoke with the House Freedom Caucus to hopefully get things moving. The Freedom Caucus was one of the main factions keeping the bill from being passed along with the moderate Republicans. However, the Freedom Caucus votes would be more than enough to get the bill passed, but enough moderates would still need to vote yes.
Steve Bannon went in to try and basically force the House Freedom Caucus to do things the way he wanted them done, but that did not go over so well. Bannon met with them at the White House this past week, and it was there where he told them they had no choice. According to Axios, Bannon said the following.
“Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.”
The authoritative tone really did not go over very well, as one would imagine. One member of the caucus was noted after the meeting with Bannon.
“You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either.”
Of course, without the support from the Freedom Caucus, the bill was ultimately going to be doomed. The strong-arm approach by President Trump and Steve Bannon seemed to only intensify the Freedom Caucus’ position. It seemed that Steve Bannon wanted to sort of force their hand on something, and by telling them they had no choice, it may have made them feel like they had to show that they certainly did, just as anyone in Congress did.
The House Freedom Caucus had been against the GOP healthcare plan for some time, as they felt it was too closely similar to Obamacare. They felt it was so bad that they referred to it as “Obamacare-lite.” They felt the bill did not further itself enough from Obamacare and it needed to be completely different. The White House even attempted to bribe members of the Freedom Caucus somewhat. They offered the hardline conservatives some concessions to win their support.
Of course, this lost many moderate Republicans who may have supported the bill or were on the fence. The Freedom Caucus wanted and were given changes to the GOP bill, such as their request to rescind the t10 essential health benefits, which was popularized under Obamacare. The 10 essential benefits were added in to force insurance companies to cover these major, key health needs. The benefits covered the emergency room, maternity care, prescriptions, and even mental healthcare.
Naturally, moderate Republicans felt this was too harsh and backed off, and most were not surprised by that. President Trump then went after the Freedom Caucus publicly on Friday when it seemed like he nor Steve Bannon could sway them enough. He called them out for being the people to stop it and even claimed that they were the ones keeping Obamacare going and even attacked their pro-life stance in the process when he claimed that Planned Parenthood stayed funded with Obamacare remaining as the law of the land.
Possibly the death nail to the GOP healthcare bill came when moderate New Jersey Republican and chair of The House Appropriations Committee, Rodney Frelinghysen, withdrew his support for the American Health Care Act. Once this occurred, it seemed that the GOP knew it was over and pulled the bill. It is still interesting, however, how the Trump administration tried to handle things, especially when it concerns Steve Bannon.
Making threats and Steve Bannon even trying to force things making Congress think they were in some sort of hostage situation where they had no choice in the matter. This not the best way to govern. It’ll be interesting to see how much involvement Bannon has in the future. It has been a long-standing thought that Bannon is not good with crowds or media, so he often doesn’t get in front of them. So Steve Bannon and his thoughts may not have come out the way he wanted, but who knows?
While no one has been shocked to see how Steve Bannon has reacted to things since getting added to the Trump cabinet, many worry about his position within the White House. Bannon is known for his alt-right views and has been a bit of a different animal when it came to American politics as it is today. He seems to want to change things, and while Bannon is certainly welcome to try, it seems that Steve may not do well if he attempts to force Congress to do anything ever again.
[Featured Image By Evan Vucci/AP Images]