A member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus said that the group's meeting with Vice President Pence on Wednesday "did not go very well" as he and more than two dozen colleagues left as "no" votes on the GOP healthcare bill.
“We came in voting no, we left voting no,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said in an interview with The Hill’s Molly K. Hooper.
Brooks noted that 25-30 Freedom Caucus members participated in the two-hour private negotiating session at the Old Executive Office Building with senior members of the Trump administration. Members later insisted they'd oppose the bill.
The meeting included Pence, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
“They were trying to convince us that we needed to vote for what is quick becoming the largest Republican welfare program in the history of the Republican party. And quite frankly it did not go very well from the White House's point of view,” Brooks added.
At least 25 House Republicans have come out against the plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, according to The Hill's Whip List. House GOP leaders can only afford about 22 defections, given expected absences from the vote slated for late Thursday.
One Freedom Caucus member opposed to the bill who attended the meeting with Pence on Wednesday said that there’s “a case to be made” for something pitched by Trump about a Senate amendment "to get rid of some of the regulations.”
Trump told a group of 18 House Republicans on Wednesday that he would call on the Senate to amend the House bill to include the repeal of ObamaCare’s “essential health benefits,” sources told The Hill, adding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is on board with the plan.
Watch the video above to hear Brooks in his own words.