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Conservative Lawmaker to Trump on Healthcare Bill: Remember What We Did for You

President Trump, flanked by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), left, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on March 10, 2017, during a meeting on healthcare. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — A member of the House Freedom Caucus said President Trump, while lobbying members to pass the American Health Care Act, should remember what conservatives did for him during the election.

The White House, along with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), has been trying to bring Republicans into line after early dissent in both chambers to the Obamacare repeal and replace legislation.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said the bill only goes “a tenth” of how far House conservatives want to go.

“The time is now. The time is today. We need to make sure that we repeal and replace Obamacare,” Labrador told CNN on Thursday, agreeing with Ryan’s push for swift passage. “But this bill is not it.”

“The first line of this bill says that this bill amends the Affordable Care Act. So it’s not a repeal or replacement of the Affordable Care Act. It’s just an amendment to the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “So I think we can go much further than what leadership wants us to go. I think we can actually have real reforms in this bill…. I’m just surprised and disappointed that our leadership has decided to just go a tenth of the way, as opposed to all the way.”

Labrador said House conservatives need to show Trump “that we’re trying to actually help him.”

“You know, we want to help him keep the promises that he made to the American people,” he argued. “What the leadership is doing is not keeping the promises that we made to the American people. And I think that Trump needs to understand — President Trump needs to understand that, if we don’t keep those promises, he’s going to have a very hard time getting the rest of his agenda going through Congress.”

“…So we’re just trying to help President Trump. I think he’s with us. You know, President Trump also needs to remember that, when the chips were down for President Trump when he was in the campaign, it was members of the House Freedom Caucus, it was people like me who stood by him. And there were many members of leadership who didn’t even think he had a chance of winning. So now that he won, he wants to help keep those promises, and we want to help him keep those promises that he made to the American people.”

At a meeting this morning with House committee leaders, Trump insisted that the bill progressing through the lower chamber is “what people want.”

“The House repeal and replace plan ends the Obamacare tax hikes, cutting taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars. It eliminates the Obamacare mandate that forces Americans to buy government-approved plans, we all know that one,” the president said. “It provides states with flexibility over how Medicaid dollars are spent, giving power from Washington and back to local government, which we all want to see. They’re gonna do a much better job. And the plan empowers individual Americans to buy the health insurance that is right for them, not the plan forced on them by government.”

“This is the time we’re gonna get it done,” Trump added. “We’re working together, we have some great results. We have tremendous spirit and I think it’s something that’s just going to happen very shortly.”

On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show this morning, Ryan argued that the bill’s swift progression is “as clear and transparent as it can ever get.”

“We win the election. Then, we proceed to work with the Trump administration, our Senate counterparts and the House Committees to take that plan and translate it into legislative text. Seven member meetings in February alone inviting feedback and explaining provisions to any House Republican who wants to see it,” Ryan said.

“Then, you introduce it on Monday. The committees mark it up on Wednesday. Ways and Means, Commerce, now coming to Budget week 2. Week 3, Rules Committee and the floor. That is regular order.”