As Republicans remain divided over the best plan for replacing Obamacare, the GOP establishment is signaling a willingness to go on the attack against conservatives.
The American Action Network, a group aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), is running an ad campaign seeking to convince Republican voters that there’s no room for disagreement within the GOP.
The AAN ads are running on Fox News as well as in local markets in 30 districts represented by members of the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus.
“ObamaCare is full of job-destroying mandates. The new plan eliminates them. ObamaCare put bureaucrats in control. The Republicans’ plan puts patients and doctors in charge. ObamaCare stuck families with soaring premiums. The new plan provides more choices and lower costs,” the ad says.
Next comes a scene of President Donald Trump saying that Congress must “repeal and replace Obamacare” during his address to lawmakers earlier this month.
The gist of the advertisement is that lawmakers who reject Obamacare are rejecting the wishes of the administration voters selected last fall.
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) a conservative who has led the charge against the House leadership’s effort to produce what he calls “Obamacare Lite” contends that the only lawmakers doing a disservice to voters are those blocking the full repeal of Obamacare followed by a separate replacement bill.
Paul also contends that the GOP establishment is tricking Trump into supporting a plan that doesn’t get near the level of absolute Obamacare repeal he discussed on the campaign trial.
Paul said in an interview with Breitbart: “I think when I’ve spoken with president Trump, I think he agrees with me that we should repeal and replace but I don’t think he’s stuck on that they have to be in the same bill necessarily. Paul Ryan, I think, is selling it to the White House and telling the White House, ‘Oh, it’s a piece of cake, it’s a done deal.’ And I don’t think that’s an accurate depiction of things.”
The Kentucky senator is urging his conservative colleagues in the House to resist establishment attempts at intimidation.
“If the House leadership had come forward and talked to conservatives beforehand, I think they would have found out there is a lot of disagreement and they would have just passed what we already passed—what everybody voted for—and we also have a debate on the same day on a variety of replacement strategies,” he told Breitbart. “We still could do that. And I think if the House Freedom Caucus and the Senate conservatives stay together, I still think that that’s one possible outcome. It would be better for all of us if we separated it out with clean repeal and had replacement as a separate bill.”