Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) has established himself as the face of the principled opposition against President Donald Trump within the Republican Party, but his health care vote suggests that he is softening his stance. The prominent “Never Trumper” cast an affirmative vote today for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed.
Although a roll call vote is currently unavailable, reporters such as Dean Clancy of the Hill and Cameron Joseph of the New York Daily News confirmed on Twitter that Amash is one of the lawmakers who voted for the legislation. Although Amash gave an impression that he was deliberating until the last minute about the vote, claims from prominent political figures cast doubt on his story.
Haley Byrd of the Independent Journal Review tweeted this morning, “Labrador and Amash are chatting on the House floor. Labrador is a yes, Amash undecided. Labrador’s doing a lot of talking—Amash seems unsure.” The exchange between Labrador and Amash was likely little more than theatrics, with the votes already being decided way beforehand.
The Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows, and the U.S. Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, both claimed that every legislator except one from the Freedom Caucus was on board to vote for the revised AHCA. Earlier today, the office of Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) confirmed to The Liberty Conservative that he was indeed the ‘no’ vote that Meadows and Mulvaney were referencing. Amash’s intentions to vote affirmatively on the legislation were apparently very well-known.
Amash was recently threatened by President Trump’s social media director who urged Trump supporters to stage a primary challenge against the legislator in 2018. It is unclear whether this threat caused Amash to bend to the President by supporting his health care plan. In 2011, Amash gave an impassioned speech in favor of a full repeal of Obamacare. Six years later, he voted in favor of a bill that would mostly keep Obamacare intact.
Now that the AHCA has finally passed, the bill will be sent to the Senate. It is possible that the Senate may overhaul the bill yet again. It is unclear if the AHCA will ever fully make it through Congress, and be signed by the President into law. What is clear is that the House Freedom Caucus, once the focal point of Trump’s anger, will no longer be standing in his way.