Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) on Thursday warned that some congressional Republicans may no longer have the guts to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act after facing pressure from constituents at town halls this week.
Brooks said on WBHP’s “The Morning Show with Toni & Gary,” first flagged by CNN, that he believes “a significant number” of his colleagues “are being impacted by these kinds of protests and their spine is a little bit weak.”
“And I don’t know if we’re going to be able to repeal Obamacare now because these folks who support Obamacare are very active, they’re putting pressure on congressmen and there’s not a counter-effort to steel the spine of some of these congressmen in tossup districts around the country,” he said.
Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus who advocates a full repeal of the health care law, worried there may not even be a vote at this point.
“But this monstrosity needs to be repealed and right now, in my judgment, we don’t have the votes in Congress to pass a repeal bill, in part because of what these people are doing,” he said.
Brooks said that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) doesn’t really support a full repeal of the ACA and merely supports amending the law.
“They’re calling an amendment a repeal in order to deceive the public,” Brooks said.
The congressman argued that President Donald Trump also does not support a full repeal.
“Quite frankly, I don’t know that this administration supports a full repeal,” he said. “To the contrary, the President has expressed support for some of the provisions that are in Obamacare. And if that’s the case, if that ends up being the administration’s position, then that is not a repeal of Obamacare, that’s an amendment of Obamacare.”
When the host mentioned Trump’s support of a provision of the law that lets parents keep their children on their health insurance policies until age 26, Brooks argued that Trump supports other Obamacare provisions, too.
“Remember when Donald Trump publicly stated during the campaign that he’s going to make sure everybody has health insurance?” Brooks asked. “That’s Obamacare.”
Home in their districts this week while Congress is in recess, Republican lawmakers have faced rowdy crowds at town halls as constituents often jeered at them. Quite a few congressional Republicans were faced with pointed questions about plans to repeal and replace the ACA.
After a town hall in Iowa on Thursday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) signaled that such heated sentiment from constituents would force Republicans to proceed carefully while developing a plan to replace the health care law.
“There’s more of a consensus among Republicans now that you’ve got to be more cautious with what you’re going to do,” he told the Washington Post, referring to repealing and replacing Obamacare. “That didn’t mean much to me in November and December. But it means a lot now.”