Freedom Caucus chair opposes combining health care, tax reform

Freedom Caucus chair opposes combining health care, tax reform
© Greg Nash

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Tuesday that he opposes trying to combine tax reform and ObamaCare repeal in a fast-track bill next year.

Some Republicans are pushing to include instructions for ObamaCare repeal along with tax reform in the 2018 budget, allowing the GOP to keep alive their ability to pass repeal with just a simple majority and bypass a Democratic filibuster. 

But Meadows told reporters he opposes that approach because it could "interfere potentially with tax reform." He warned he would only support instructions for healthcare if the issue could be kept in a separate bill, which does not appear to be allowed under the rules. 

"Since we have fumbled at least twice now on health care, to include it and make tax reform contingent on us getting across the finish line on health care — I wouldn't be in favor unless we can keep it on parallel tracks," Meadows said. 

Meadows said that the full Freedom Caucus had not taken a formal position on the issue. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Senate GOP running out of options to stop Moore Texas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request MORE (R-Texas) also said Tuesday that he opposes combining the issues. 

Meadows raised the idea of using the 2019 budget, which could be voted on some time next year, to bring back repeal instead. 

"We sometimes forget we have a 2019 reconciliation instruction that is coming up probably just in the first quarter or shortly thereafter of next year, and so that would provide another vehicle for 51 votes, perhaps if we get the legislation supported and we actually have 51 votes in the Senate," Meadows said.