House conservatives say Obamacare repeal effort is not over

WASHINGTON — The head of the most conservative Republican House faction sought to deflect blame Sunday for last week’s stunning collapse of a White House-backed health-care measure, saying the lawmakers hadn’t given up on trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The chairman of the House group also signaled in an ABC interview that the bloc would make its voice a central part of other legislative debates, including an overhaul of the federal tax code.

“No one has been more self-critiquing than me,” said Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about three-dozen lawmakers who played a role in President Donald Trump’s first major legislative defeat. “As I have looked at all of this, I said, ‘You know, could I have spent a little bit more time with the Tuesday group, more time with Democrats, to find some consensus?,’ ” he said in a reference to a group of Republicans from more centrist, swing districts.

But Meadows said his group still was trying to secure passage of a new health-insurance system. “I can tell you that conversations over the last 48 hours are really about how we come together in the Republican conference and try to get this over the finish line,” Meadows said. “We are in the negotiation process.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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