Texas senator Ted Cruz, one of the leading critics of the congressional GOP’s health reform plan, revealed Sunday that he and two of his colleagues met White House officials at Mar-a-Lago this weekend to discuss changes to the American Health Care Act.
During an interview with Face the Nation, Cruz reiterated his opposition to the legislation in its present form, before adding that he was still working with Sen. Mike Lee, House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, and members of the administration to alter the package.
“I am spending night and day meeting with House members, meeting with senators, meeting with the administration. Just yesterday, I spent three hours at Mar-a-Lago with Mike Lee and with Mark Meadows negotiating with the president’s team, trying to fix this bill,” Cruz said. When asked if President Trump “got” his concerns, he only added that the two of them have had “multiple conversations.”
A Freedom Caucus spokeswoman confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the meeting took place, but didn’t provide details pending other caucus members being briefed on its particulars. “The Freedom Caucus continues to be in constant communication with the White House and continues to negotiate in good faith, in hopes of reaching a consensus that is good for the American people,” Alyssa Farah said.
Cruz and Meadows published an op-ed last Wednesday arguing that the AHCA could include more provisions rolling back Obamacare and withstand the scrutiny of Senate budget rules. Under the congressional “reconciliation” process, Republicans are attempting to undo the budget-related portions of the Affordable Care Act, which they can accomplish with only 51 yes votes in the upper chamber. But the bill leaves murkier aspects of the law untouched, like its insurance mandates pertaining to coverage of those with pre-existing conditions.
“We can do that in the House bill,” Cruz declared Sunday.
Republicans are at work making changes to the AHCA ahead of an expected House vote on Thursday, but they’re not the ambitious ones Cruz supports. President Trump and a group of House conservatives agreed Friday to some Medicaid tweaks, imposing work requirements for recipients and giving states the option to receive the program’s funds as a block grant.
This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard