Struggling to find relevance in the minority, the former “Speaker-in-waiting” Kevin McCarthy is blaming his far-right fringe’s extremist tactics for the devastating midterm 2018 election losses.
From the Washington Post:
Speaking privately to his donors, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy…blamed Republican losses in last year’s midterm elections on…his party’s right flank.
…in singling out the House Freedom Caucus, the remarks threaten to rekindle internal resentments inside the House Republican Conference.
McCarthy’s remarks about the Freedom Caucus threaten to renew an old rift between the top House Republican and the Freedom Caucus — one that dates to 2015, when the group blocked McCarthy from succeeding John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) as House speaker.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the Freedom Caucus chairman, said McCarthy’s remarks were “very troublesome” after a reporter described them.
That’s not the only admission McCarthy made. As the Washington Post noted, McCarthy now seems to regret joining Trump for a photo op at the White House following the defining vote that showcased the Republican war on people’s health care:
…Kevin McCarthy…blamed Republican losses in last year’s midterm elections on the GOP push to roll back health insurance…
McCarthy offered a selective account of the 2017 health-care battles on Capitol Hill, where Republicans in the House toiled for months to craft an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, narrowly passing a bill in May…
“When we couldn’t pass the repeal of Obamacare the first way through, an amendment came because the Freedom Caucus wouldn’t vote for” the original House bill, McCarthy said.
McCarthy’s account accurately describes the dynamics of passing the American Health Care Act, the Republican ACA alternative, in 2017: After an initial version of the bill was withdrawn due to opposition from both the Freedom Caucus and GOP moderates, Meadows and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) crafted an amendment that would give states the ability to waive protections for people with preexisting conditions.
MacArthur, who captured a district Trump won by six percentage points in 2016, was among the 40 House Republicans who lost their seat to a Democratic challenger last year.
“If you’ll notice,” McCarthy replied, “we haven’t done anything when it comes to repealing Obamacare this time.”
While Kevin McCarthy continues to reflect and maybe beg the Freedom Caucus for their confidence once more, he should work with Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to strengthen people’s pre-existing condition protections and lower prescription drug prices. A refusal to do so not only demonstrates his inability to work for the people, but suggests the Republican war on people’s health care is certainly not over.