THIESSEN: The Freedom Caucus blows its chance to govern


For weeks, as President Trump courted the group, members of the caucus used their leverage to make the bill better. They asked for language capping the maximum income to receive the tax credit — and got it. They asked to allow states to choose between a traditional block grant and a per capita block grant — and got it. They asked to allow states to impose work requirements on able-bodied Medicaid recipients — and got it. They asked for language preventing non-Medicaid-expansion states from becoming expansion states — and got it. They asked for flexibility for states to change “essential health benefits” — and got it.


But each time they got a concession, and were asked to support the bill, they instead came up with new sets of demands that made the legislation increasingly unpassable. Eventually it became clear to Trump that the Freedom Caucus would never take yes for an answer. So he cut them off, sending former Freedom Caucus member Mick Mulvaney, his Office of Management and Budget director, to Capitol Hill to deliver a message: The president was done negotiating.


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