The Latest: Texas Republican quits hard-line Freedom Caucus

AP News
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Posted: Mar 26, 2017 8:39 PM
The Latest:  Texas Republican quits hard-line Freedom Caucus

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Republican plans to overhaul the health care system (all times local):

7 p.m.

A member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus is resigning after the hard line group helped scuttle the Republican health care overhaul.

Texas GOP Rep. Ted Poe says in a statement Sunday that "saying 'no' is easy, leading is hard but that is what we were elected to do."

Poe tweeted Friday that some lawmakers "would've voted against the 10 Commandments." Most of the group's roughly three dozen members opposed the health care measure. President Donald Trump and other top Republicans are blaming them for the bill's collapse.

House Speaker Paul Ryan yanked the measure off the House floor Friday in a jarring setback for Trump and Ryan. It faced certain rejection had a roll call occurred.

The bill would have erased much of President Barack Obama's 2010 health care overhaul.

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2 p.m.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer says Democrats are willing to work with Republicans on improving the health care system if they agree to stop trying to repeal former President Barack Obama's law.

Schumer says Democrats and Republicans both have ideas on how to improve "Obamacare."

Speaking on ABC's "This Week," the New York senator says: "We never said it was perfect. We always said we'd work with them to improve it. We just said repeal was off the table."

Schumer spoke two days after House Republicans pulled their health care bill at the last minute to avoid a certain defeat. He also warned that Republicans will "lose again" on tax reform if they continue to cater to what he characterized as "hard-right wealthy special interests."

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11:30 a.m.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is making clear that President Donald Trump will be seeking support from moderate Democrats for upcoming legislative battles. He also is leaving open the possibility that the president could still revisit health care legislation after the failure of the Republican bill to replace Obamacare.

He scolded conservative Republicans, explaining that Trump had felt "disappointed" that a "number of people he thought were loyal to him that weren't."

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Priebus said: "I think more so now than ever, it's time for both parties to come together and get to real reforms in this country whether it be taxes, whether it'd be health care, whether it'd be immigration, whether it'd be infrastructure, this president is ready to lead."

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9:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is attacking conservative lawmakers after the failure of the Republican bill to replace Obamacare.

On Twitter on Sunday, Trump says: "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!"

The Freedom Caucus is a hard-right group of House members who were largely responsible for blocking the bill to undo President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The bill was pulled from the House floor Friday in a humiliating political defeat for the president.

Trump initially focused his blame on Democrats for the failure and predicted a dire future for the current law.

Before the bill was pulled, Trump tweeted at the Freedom Caucus, saying Planned Parenthood funding would continue if they blocked the legislation.