Report: Steve Bannon told conservatives they had ‘no choice’ during health care bill debate

Report: Steve Bannon told conservatives they had ‘no choice’ during health care bill debate
White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly told House conservatives they had "no choice" but to vote for the GOP health care bill. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly told conservative members of the House of Representatives that they had “no choice” but to vote for the GOP plan to replace Obamacare, which was drafted by GOP leadership and endorsed by President Donald Trump.

According to Axios, Bannon confronted the conservative wing of the GOP, likely the House Freedom Caucus, during a meeting early last week about the bill.

“Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill,” Bannon reportedly said.

But the members weren’t having it. In reply, one Freedom Caucus member said: “You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either.”

Trump and his aides met with the Freedom Caucus several times during the course of the bill’s life, most recently on Thursday — the day before the bill was scheduled to be voted on — to try and persuade the members to vote for the bill.

However, from the onset of the bill, the entire Freedom Caucus was against it. They — along with many conservative counterparts in the Senate like Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Mike Lee (Utah) — said the bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a market-based solution, a promise the GOP has been making for seven years.

House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mike Meadows (R-N.C.) said throughout debate on the bill that his caucus had made their concerns clear and they were willing to work with the White House and GOP leadership to pass the bill. Ultimately, Meadow’s caucus said it was the refusal of Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to listen to their concerns fully that led the conservative caucus to not support the legislation.

The bill was ultimately pulled Friday afternoon, just minutes before the House was scheduled to vote on it.

And according to a report from the Daily Beast, Trump will not forget who failed to support the bill. According to the publication, Bannon urged Trump to keep a “sh*t list” of Republicans who were not loyal to him.

“[Bannon] has told the president to keep a shit list on this,” a Trump administration official allegedly told the Beast. “He wants a running tally of [the Republicans] who want to sink this…Not sure if I’d call it an ‘enemies list,’ per se, but I wouldn’t want to be on it.”