The chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus said there is no talk of replacing House Speaker Paul Ryan after the Republicans' proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare was killed because it failed to garner enough GOP support.
On Saturday -- hours after Donald Trump tweeted to his followers, “Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9:00 P.M.” – Jeanine Pirro opened her show with a call for House Speaker Paul Ryan to step down in the wake of the health care bill's failure.
Along the same lines, the conservative website Breitbart raised the possibility that the head of the House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, could replace Ryan as speaker.
Pressed by ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on whether he supports Ryan, Meadows said Sunday: "I can tell you there is no conversation going on right now with regard to replacing the speaker.”
The Freedom Caucus opposed the Republican health care bill, but Meadows said on ABC's "This Week" that conservative and moderate GOP lawmakers are going to have to work together to achieve their shared agenda.
"It's all hands on deck with regards to Obamacare, tax reform, the border wall," he said.
Stephanopoulos asked Meadows about Trump's tweet earlier Sunday morning that singled out the Freedom Caucus for its opposition the health care bill, with the president saying that Democrats are "smiling" over the failure to pass the legislation.
"Well, I mean, if they're applauding, they shouldn't," Meadows said. "I can tell you that conversations over the last 48 hours are really about how we come together in the Republican conference and try to get this over the finish line."
The congressman added, "This was not a final passage. This was one bill that was going to go to the Senate, get revised, and come back ... We are in the negotiation process."
Meadows said it is premature to think that the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is over: "It's like saying that Tom Brady lost at halftime … We may be in overtime, but I can tell you at the very end of the day, the most valuable player will be President Trump on this because he will deliver.” Trump has said the next big item on his agenda is tax reform, and Stephanopoulos asked Meadows whether any tax cuts would be balanced by spending reductions or other revenue increases.
“You say real tax reform. Does that mean any tax cuts must be fully paid for? You're not going to pass tax cuts that are not matched with other revenue increases or spending cuts?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Tax reform and lowering taxes, you know, will create and generate more income,” said Meadows. "Does it have to be fully offset? My personal response is no.”