Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said during an interview Monday on CNN’s “New Day” that he resigned from the conservative House Freedom Caucus over the weekend because of the group’s rejection of a Republican bill to replace Obamacare.
The Freedom Caucus was opposed to the Republican health care plan — the American Health Care Act — because they argued that it did not fully repeal Obamacare. Their opposition helped derail the bill’s chance of passage. House Republican leadership ultimately pulled the bill on Friday.
Poe announced his resignation in a statement Sunday, saying that leaving the caucus will allow him to be a more “effective” member of Congress.
During the interview, Poe said that while Democrats were in power, the Freedom Caucus was the “opposition caucus,” but now that Republicans are in the majority, it "continues to be the opposition caucus against anything in the Republican Party."
Poe said the group spent over an hour with President Donald Trump and members of his administration making compromises on the legislation — only for the group to reject the bill.
"Compromises were made," Poe said. "Things were added to the bill based on the input of the Freedom Caucus, but then at the end of the day, 'no,' it was easier to vote 'no,' and so I'm angry about that. I think it's time that we lead and continue not to say 'no' on everything that takes place when bills come forward in the House of Representatives."
He argued that the bill the Freedom Caucus wanted would have alienated more moderate members of the Republican Party.
Poe said there are members of the Freedom Caucus who would “vote no against the Ten Commandments if it came up for a vote.”
He called for the group to work together with other members of the Republican Party, acknowledging that the bill was not a "perfect bill."
"It's a start in moving us in a different direction to have more input into health care," Poe said. "There were some good things in it. No, it was not perfect, but I was ready to vote yes because everybody had an input in the Republican Party and yet, some would continue to say, 'I'm not going to vote for the bill.'"
Rep. Ted Poe: The Freedom Caucus "continues to be the opposition caucus against anything in the Republican Party" https://t.co/XGI5bnfMk2
— New Day (@NewDay) March 27, 2017