On Tuesday, Rep. Tom MacArthur resigned as co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, a group of GOP moderates in the House, citing its members criticisms of him for working with the conservative Freedom Caucus to get the House Obamacare replacement bill passed.
MacArthur told Politico, “You can’t lead people where they don’t want to go. I think some people in the group just have a different view of what governing is.”
Macarthur had penned an amendment allowing states to opt out of Obamacare regulations, thus eliciting support from the Freedom Caucus. He confessed that Freedom Caucus members were “much more involved” in negotiations over the final language of the bill because “my guys didn’t want to be involved.”
MacArthur told the Tuesday Group of his resignation personally, stating, “Clearly, our group is divided. Many in the Tuesday Group are eager to live up to our ideal of being problem-solvers, while others seem unwilling to compromise.”
MacArthur had previously said he would not step down from his position, asserting, “The Tuesday Group are among my closest friends here in Congress. These are people in districts like mine. Our focus, as it always is, is on governing. And the members of this group are trying to figure out the best way to proceed on this bill.”
But MacArthur said he wasn’t about to back down from negotiating with the Freedom Caucus, saying, “I’m not looking to be divisive within the group and I’m not looking to change who I am. I’m going to continue to govern the way I believe the American people need us to govern. That means we engage with the Freedom Caucus. We engage with everybody… This unwillingness to engage with members of our own party is unacceptable to me.”
Twelve House moderates voted against the bill, including co-chair Charlie Dent and MacArthur’s state delegation colleagues Reps. Leonard Lance and Frank LoBiondo. Macarthur pointed out, “More than half of the no votes for the AHCA came from Tuesday Group members, despite almost every one of our members voting numerous times to repeal the ACA. Arguably we have a Congressional majority because of this very issue.”
MacArthur said that the waivers from certain Obamacare provisions that would be allowed to the states as a result of the bill would only apply to the 7% of the U.S. population covered by the individual health insurance market.
MacArthur’s resignation statement read:
After a career in business, I ran for Congress determined to be a serious policymaker and confront the important issues of our day. To that end, I was excited to join an organization of centrist Republicans who brand themselves as the “commonsense, problem-solving wing of the Republican Party.”
For two years, I listened in meetings as some in the Tuesday Group complained about the group’s lack of relevance and inability to get things done. I ran for co-chairman of Tuesday Group because I felt I could help change that – both in perception and reality – and move the ball forward on a number of key issues.
While some embraced my efforts as Co-Chairman, others have bristled. Clearly, our group is divided. Many in the Tuesday Group are eager to live up to our ideal of being problem-solvers, while others seem unwilling to compromise. The recent healthcare debate was illustrative.
More than half of the no votes for the AHCA came from Tuesday Group members, despite almost every one of our members voting numerous times to repeal the ACA. Arguably we have a Congressional majority because of this very issue. Frankly, inaction on healthcare was a non-starter for me, and it should be for our entire party. We owe it to the American people who elected us to fix the Obamacare mess. Just because it’s hard cannot become an excuse to do nothing.
During efforts to reform our healthcare system, I worked with many in the Tuesday Group towards a real solution that would protect the most vulnerable among us, while driving down healthcare costs. I am grateful to my colleagues across the political spectrum and have been encouraged by their support. That being said, it’s clear that some in the Tuesday Group have different objectives and a different sense of governing than I do.
Effective immediately, I resign as co-chair of the Tuesday Group.