Donald Trump recently held an Oval Office meeting with several conservative groups who have lined up against the House Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. During that meeting Trump revealed his plan and said if it fails, he can always blame Democrats.
Trump met with the group for an hour-long meeting and chastised the groups which included Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots. Those groups called the House GOP proposal “Obamacare lite,” and Trump warned that the Tea Party was “helping the other side.”
“This is going to be great. You’re going to make it even greater,” the President told the group. “I’m going to work hard to get it done.”
The meeting between Trump and the conservative leaders also included White House senior advisers Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway and Marc Short, and other high ranking members of the West Wing.
Sources said White House officials showed the ability to compromise during the meeting. Officials said they are willing to take another look at the push back on an overhaul of the expansion to Obamacare Medicaid funding until 2020.
Conservative groups at the meeting asked for the date to be moved up to January 1, 2018. White House aides said they were “open to discussing” it, sources told CNN.
The group also raised concerns about the tax credit plan announced by the House GOP which allows lower-income Americans to purchase health insurance and receive financial assistance. The group sees that plan as nothing more than additional subsidies.
“They counter-punched hard on that,” a source at the meeting said of the White House response.
Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney defended the tax credits, a display that surprised attendees from the conservative groups.
Trump is confident his health care plan will pass the House and during the meeting he laid out plans to win over the Senate. Trump promised to campaign in red states where vulnerable Democrats are up for re-election.
“Trump said he will have football stadium events in states where he won by 10-12 points and he is going to dare people to vote against him,” a source told CNN. So far, pro-Trump rallies have failed to draw any type of large crowd.
Trump also said Senator Rand Paul will “end up voting” for the plan. The two men were bitter rivals during the Presidential primary.
One attendee told CNN that Trump was blindsided by the initial conservative opposition to the GOP plan.
“We telegraphed it for weeks,” one tea party official at the meeting claimed.
White House officials said it was “a legit policy meeting — real discussion about specifics.”
“The president expressed that he was open to things that could improve the bill, but was also clear that this is the vehicle — this is the chance to repeal and replace.”
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.