Via Politico –
Tom MacArthur resigned today as co-chair from the Tuesday Group, the self-described “moderate” wing of the Republicans in the House. Fissures in this caucus became more obvious with the iteration of the GOP’s American Health Care Act that carried his name; the MacArthur amendment. Blue Jersey wrote about MacArthur’s troubles earlier this month. Today, MacArthur told Politico:
“You can’t lead people where they don’t want to go. I think some people in the group just have a different view of what governing is.”
What apparently made MacArthur’s leadership unacceptable to many members of the Group is the very thing that helped push the AHCA through a House vote after Republicans’ failure to pass it in March, an cringeworthy moment for both Speaker Ryan and the freshman POTUS (whose current problems dwarf all that). His amendment made the already draconian AHCA even worse by allowing states to request waivers of pre-existing condition protections, weakening the reforms of Obamacare and taking health care access right out of reach of many Americans. [MacArthur is a former insurance industry executive].
MacArthur struck a deal with the farther-right Freedom Caucus (laugh when you say that) that angered his Group, whose concern seemed to be mainly for their own political skins (well, maybe not all of them). Among their worries, were that the deal MacArthur and Rep. Mark Meadows struck with the Freedom Caucus (laugh when you say it) would weaken their own chances for re-election by shifting the bill farther right, and removing protections voters care about. Some members also apparently felt cut out of the loop by MacArthur.
More than half the No votes on AHCA came from Tuesday group members, per Politico, despite the fact that nearly all of them had voted dozens of times against the ACA. Lance bragged about his 60-plus votes to dismantle or defund the ACA during Obama’s term. But that was before he presided over a district that re-elected him but also went for Hillary Clinton; he’s one of 23 Republicans in that predicament. It’s why he hosted 3 town halls full of blistering constituent criticism on the Republican’s plans, and why he says things like this now (good thing our memories are longer).
The Tuesday Group doesn’t publish its member list, but Leonard Lance, Rodney Frelinghuysen and Frank LoBiondo have been mentioned in press accounts as members. All three, plus MacArthur, are on the target district list of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). MacArthur plans to stay in the Tuesday Group as a member. His co-chairs, Reps. Charlie Dent (PA) and Elise Stefanik (NY) will apparently keep their leadership positions. Stefanik went up on DCCC’s target list Round Two yesterday. MacArthur is well-insulated by money (principally his own) and the Cook Political Report rating of his district hasn’t budged, even as his Northern colleague Rodney Frelinghuysen’s has.
To be sure, a lot of this is just inside baseball stuff ordinary voters won’t hear of or care about. But take it as a sign that all is not well in RepublicanLand. All this happens one day before the Congressional Budget Score comes out. MacArthur, Ryan and company rushed their vote through before the CBO score; and that tells you two things: (1) They wanted it done before Americans can see ho much the bill will cost and what it’s real impact will be and (2) They don’t know themselves, because they did it before the CBO score. Thing are fraying at the edges at the very time Republicans should be chest thumping over steaks at The Palm.