With a vote due Thursday on the GOP's replacement for ObamaCare, the conservative House Freedom Caucus is threatening to become the legislation's death panel. The hard-liners say revisions to the repeal-and-replace bill unveiled on Monday don't go anywhere near far enough on the repeal side and are threatening to vote against it, dealing a major defeat to President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Insiders tell Politico that 27 caucus members are either completely against the bill or are leaning toward voting no. Unless some Democrats vote for the bill—a possibility believed to be about as likely as flying monkeys invading the chamber—the GOP can only afford to lose 22 votes.
Top Republicans say they believe with the help of Trump they will get the votes they need, though the hard-liners seem unmoved so far. "The bill needs to change," caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows tells the Hill. "The insurance regulations and mandates, the essential health benefits need to be repealed." Trump, who has warned Republicans that failing to pass the bill will hurt both his agenda and their careers, singled Meadows out during an address Tuesday, joking that he would "come after" him, the Washington Post reports. Sen. Rand Paul, who has labeled the legislation "ObamaCare Lite," tells Breitbart he believes at least 35 House Republicans plan to vote against it. He predicts the bill will be pulled before the vote and the GOP will have to start again from scratch. (Read more American Health Care Act stories.)