Politics & Government

Last undecided congressman from North Carolina says he supports GOP health care bill

Rep. David Rouzer speaks during a Novo Nordisk groundbreaking ceremony March 28, 2016, in Clayton, N.C.
Rep. David Rouzer speaks during a Novo Nordisk groundbreaking ceremony March 28, 2016, in Clayton, N.C. The News & Observer

U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C., is the latest congressman to move into the “yes” column, throwing his support behind House GOP leaders’ national health care bill.

Three of the state’s 10 Republicans say they oppose the bill, due for a House vote Thursday.

After days of being considered undecided, Rouzer’s office told McClatchy on Wednesday afternoon that the two-term Johnston County Republican plans to vote for the Obamacare repeal bill.

The decision comes just as a leading conservative group in North Carolina ratchets up pressure to shoot down the bill, saying it falls short of fully dismantling Obamacare regulations.

20,000Number of North Carolina voters Americans for Prosperity reaches in a single weekend phone bank

Americans for Prosperity, a political group funded by conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch, formally announced this week that it opposes the repeal and replace bill promoted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and supported by President Donald Trump.

Controversy over the bill prompted Americans for Prosperity’s North Carolina chapter to launch a digital political ad late Tuesday night in support of U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., after he was called out earlier in the day by Trump. The president met privately with House Republicans.

Americans for Prosperity plans to “key” vote the bill, meaning the group could consider pumping money into midterm political campaigns against those incumbents who support it. A McClatchy analysis of House members, updated Wednesday morning, shows that at least 35 Republicans are leaning “no” or are outright against the bill. All Democrats are expected to oppose the bill.

Republicans have a big majority in the House of Representatives but can’t afford to lose more than 21 votes.

 

Three of the N.C. Republicans – Meadows and Reps. Walter Jones and Ted Budd – say they’ll vote against the health care bill if a vote is held as scheduled Thursday. But those members say they still want to see the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, repealed.

Budd, the lone freshman in the North Carolina delegation, said the bill was largely a repeal in name only and would mostly leave “the structure of Obamacare in place.” He called on Republicans to not take any congressional recess until a tougher repeal bill is drafted.

Americans for Prosperity’s North Carolina chapter has an extensive ground game in state politics. Last weekend, the group organized its local volunteer teams in a phone bank to reach nearly 20,000 voters in North Carolina, saying the GOP health care bill wouldn’t do enough to gut Obamacare regulations or lower costs.

The North Carolina group again rallied callers on Wednesday to make supportive calls to Meadows’, Budd’s and Jones’ offices. The national group organized “drop-in” visits to some lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday.

Anna Douglas: 202-383-6012, @ADouglasNews

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