The fallout over House Republicans’ failed ObamaCare overhaul bill continued Sunday when Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, resigned from the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Poe intended to vote in favor of the bill and personally told President Trump last week that he would support the measure.
Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2017
“To deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward,” Poe said in a statement. “Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead.”
Poe resigned hours after President Trump called out the Freedom Caucus and conservative groups Club for Growth and The Heritage Foundation for not supporting the measure.
“Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!,” Trump tweeted.
On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., canceled the final vote for the ObamaCare replacement bill after concluding he didn’t have enough support despite the chamber’s GOP majority.
Ryan was purportedly about 20 votes short of the requisite 216, amid strong opposition from the chamber’s conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has 30 to 40 Republican members. Several moderate House Republicans also did not support the bill, written by Ryan and his leadership team.
In the days leading up to the planned vote, Trump suggested those who wouldn’t support the overhaul bill could lose in their 2018 reelection primaries. And in a closed-door Capitol Hill meeting last week, the president made clear to Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., that he would hold the congressman responsible if the bill failed.
Trump and Ryan spoke Saturday and Sunday. Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said the leaders spoke Saturday for roughly an hour about “moving forward on (their) agenda” and that their relationship is “stronger than ever right now.”
Strong also said Trump made clear Sunday that his tweet earlier in the day had nothing to do with the speaker.
“They are both eager to get back to work on the agenda,” she said.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.