In the wake of Speaker Paul Ryan’s failure to deliver on President Trump’s “repeal and replace” promise, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar is hoping to set the record straight. Gosar and his fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus came under fire after they successfully blocked Ryan’s faux repeal and replace legislation.
Now, Gosar is firing back. In an interview on the James T. Harris show on Wednesday, Gosar went so far as to say Ryan “lied to the president” about his chances for success.
James T. Harris talks to Congressman Paul Gosar [Listen to the interview here]
Harris asked Gosar how he felt about the fact that the White House was placing the blame squarely on the Freedom Caucus. “Let’s go back in time. Paul Ryan told the president three weeks ago he had the votes. He was nowhere close. He lied to the president. They misled the president, and who’s the Chief of Staff of the president? Reince Priebus, a good friend of Paul Ryan’s. So this is all on the head of the inside the bubble crowd. Yes, in good faith the president stood and tried to make a deal. The president called our meeting, and he actually asked us what the deal was. What we had to have and it has always been about the Essential Benefits, and Title I; specifically the Community Rating, and he said ‘OK we can get that done.’ Immediately on the phone came staff saying ‘you can’t do that.’ So this president has been misserved by the people around him. He expected us to do our job, and you know what? This lies totally at the feet of Paul Ryan. We had no say in this.”
“Too often in Washington D.C., people cave to the pressures of the way the Beltway – or this bubble – actually works,” Gosar told Harris. “That’s why it’s important to tell people what’s actually going on.”
“Last week I told you that if you don’t repeal this thing they said the Secretary of Health and Human Services could actually do things within their power to repeal stuff, well they actually had to admit on Monday that they can’t. They can’t change stuff, and now you’re hearing some rumors that – there is a blurb hitting – that if Obamacare is not repealed, Secretary Price is going to uphold the law. You know forcing it all on us again.”
Gosar noted that Ryan has a number of doctors “telling people how wrong we actually are.” Gosar said that people, who doubt what he and his fellow Freedom Caucus members are saying, need to go to their insurance broker somebody “and ask them how the insurance would work in the healthcare market without giving you choice of Essential Health Benefits and taking away Community Ratings. If y’all have to buy the same product, the same way, there’s no difference. What’s going to happen is you’re going to get Obamacare all over again and that’s what’s so important here.”
Harris asked Gosar what the story was behind Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks’ Obamacare Repeal Act. The 2-page repeal bill read simply: “Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.” Gosar responded, “Well, we don’t want to look at that avenue because what’s happening is that we want to rush something through, and we’re scared to have a conversation with the American people.”
“Even if you repeal Obamacare today,” said Gosar, “tomorrow you could wake up and go back outside and say you know what the birds are singing, and on Friday you’d get back up and the sky is blue and the birds are singing. The sky is not going to fall because it took three years for Obamacare to be implemented and it’s going to take several years for it to go off the off ramp. I told the president’s folks that’s what you ought to do; repeal of the darn thing and wake up the next morning and walk out to the media and say ‘hey, boy I hear birds’ and go back into the White House, and on Friday you go back out and say ‘I guess the sky isn’t falling, so whatever the pundits said about what was going to happen when you repeal Obamacare – it didn’t happen.”
Harris asked Gosar if he was surprised by the president’s reaction and the pressure brought to bear on the Freedom Caucus, which appeared to cause some members of the Caucus to quit. . “Well we’ve had one for sure,” said Gosar. The other one is still thinking about it, and that’s Brian Babin. But Ted Poe knew he was going to do this all the time. You know when they showed up at the White House with the presentation for Donald Trump, I knew something was up because Ted hadn’t been part of our discussion for quite some time, and so I knew something was up. And sure enough, what ended up happening was they were trying to pitch ideas and Ted presented – and he’s a good guy – represented the Hail Mary Pew. He was to start the choir call. He said listen ‘Mr. President I’ve heard the Speaker and now I’m a yes,’ and then all the sudden what ends up happening is that they get someone else to say they are yes. So they’re trying to prime the pump, so to speak, and it didn’t surprise me, but we’re holding strong and that’s the key here because we got to do it right.”
Gosar argued that if they don’t “get it right” the country is going to end up with Obamacare again. “I dare any listener – look at the composition of the Senate – look Olympia Snow, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman. You don’t think this is going to get worse? You know I’m willing to bet a pretty sizable chunk of change on that one. It’s going to get worse because they like Obamacare.”