Top Republican resigns after healthcare bill failure

A top Texas Republican has resigned from the conservative House Freedom Caucus over its opposition to President Donald Trump’s health care plan to replace Obamacare, the media reported.

“In order 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,” CNN quoted Representative Ted Poe as saying on Sunday.

“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 is a Houston-area former judge who built much of his reputation on fighting for victims’ rights, and he spent much of the last year battling cancer, according to the Texas Tribune.

The Freedom Caucus is made up of several dozen Republican members of Congress who exert their influence as a voting bloc with an aim to push legislation in a more conservative direction.

On March 24, Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the Republican health care bill from consideration after it became clear that it did not have enough votes to pass the legislation, in part because of near-unified opposition from the Freedom Caucus.

The Trump administration had offered the Freedom Caucus a repeal of the Obamacare or Affordable Care Act’s “essential health benefits,” regulatory changes that would mean insurers no longer would have to include benefits such as maternity care or mental health coverage in their plans.