House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows’ wife is rallying North Carolina Republicans to sink Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement bill, telling activists in an email that “Ryancare” “will be wrapped around Republican’s necks.”
In a Monday afternoon email, a copy of which was obtained by Politico, Debbie Meadows encouraged Republicans to call Ryan’s office and the White House to protest the House plan.
“Please take just a few minutes to call right away,” she wrote under a headline that read, “ATTENTION — IMPORTANT AND TIME SENSITIVE” in red letters. “In a nutshell, for reasons we cannot fathom, Republican leadership is putting forth a so-called Obamacare ‘repeal’ that is not a repeal at all,” she wrote.
“Leadership,” she continued, “is selling it as a full repeal and has convinced many in the White House that it’s terrific.” But the plan, she argued, “will actually create a huge new government entitlement program and cost even more than Obamacare.”
“It will end up being Ryancare and the disaster will be wrapped around Republican’s necks,” she wrote. “We MUST let them know that we are not that stupid and that we absolutely won’t put up with this charade.”
Meadows declined to comment on the email. But a Meadows aide said Debbie Meadows sent the email to about 15 people without Mark Meadows’ knowledge.
The message, however, is now making the rounds among Republicans in North Carolina. It highlights just how divided the GOP remains as it tries to fulfill a top campaign pledge by President Donald Trump — one that other Republicans have been running on for more than a half-decade.
It’s rare that politicians’ spouses insert themselves into such politically contentious issues. Debbie Meadows’ criticism of Republican leaders — she accuses them of misleading and threatening lawmakers — is particularly noteworthy because her husband led the charge to oust former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Ryan’s office declined to comment. But a senior House Republican aide called the message “pretty stunning.”
The email comes as conservatives on Capitol Hill are in the midst of a high-stakes standoff with leadership over how to repeal and replace Obamacare. They’re objecting to a Ryan-backed plan that would give Americans who receive subsidies tax credits instead, arguing those payments will become just another entitlement program.
In addition to Meadows, a number of Freedom Caucus and Republican Study Committee members — as well as GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah — have come out against the House plan. The opposition comes just a week before House committees are set to begin work on the bill.
Debbie Meadows in the email listed two phone numbers for the speaker’s office, urging people to call and “sound the alarm.”
“Please call both numbers,” she wrote.
The email also includes direction on what to tell Ryan’s office: “SAY: We do NOT want the REPEAL PLUS (what they’ve named their awful scheme). We want the 2015 REPEAL THAT YOU PUT ON OBAMA’S DESK. Now we have a President who will sign it. NO excuses that you can’t get it through the Senate.”
“They will deny that this is true, but stick to your point,” she added. “I promise you this is true.”
The email also includes a White House phone number. She asks Republicans to “thank the president for nominating [Neil] Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.”
“President Trump hasn’t heard nearly enough thanks, with the Left screaming and crying,” she wrote. “Call and write him every time you like what he’s doing — he really needs the reinforcement.”
She also encourages recipients to call their members of Congress because “many/most have been convinced by Leadership’s sales tactics (and threats) to vote for the terrible REPEAL PLUS.”
“I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS — MAYBE OUR ONLY CHANCE TO GET IT RIGHT IN OUR LIFETIMES,” she concluded, adding in parenthesis: “(DO NOT SAY THAT I OR MARK TOLD YOU TO CALL.)”
By: Rachael Bade