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House Freedom Caucus softens as 'Obamacare Lite' vote looms

President Donald Trump confers with U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) following a luncheon on Thursday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Ryan and Trump continue efforts to find support in both the House and Senate for the American Health Care Act. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The House Freedom Caucus, known for its hardline conservative stances, appears to be softening on its opposition to the House Republicans' bill to replace Obamacare.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who chairs the group of more than two dozen Republican representatives, told Politico Monday that House GOP leadership is "whipping" members of the caucus "with a whip that's 10 feet long and 5 feet wide" to ensure they will have the votes necessary to pass the American Health Care Act.

The House Freedom Caucus took issue with the bill because they said it amounted to "another entitlement" or was effectively "Obamacare Lite."

But now, just two days before the House is scheduled to vote on the AHCA, Meadows said he's not ruling out the possibility of Freedom Caucus members voting in support of the bill.

“I’m not that bold to suggest that no one’s going will change their mind between now and Thursday," Meadows said, according to Politico. “In fact, I already know of people who have changed their mind."

The North Carolina congressman did not specify who had changed their mind.

Red State reported Monday night that the Freedom Caucus was not taking any "official positions" when it comes to the AHCA.

"I’m going to encourage them to vote for their constituents," Meadows said.

President Donald Trump went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning to try to shore up as many votes for the AHCA as possible.

"I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don't get this done," Trump told members of Congress, according to CNN.

[graphiq id="cnOxsKX4GBT" title="GOP Freedom Caucus Members by District" width="600" height="565" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/cnOxsKX4GBT" ]

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