Losing conservatives like Barletta and North Carolina’s Rep. Ted Budd mean that in addition to losing a close vote, Ryan now has to worry about losing in a landslide that would threaten his grasp on the gavel itself.
.. “Under Obamacare, a half a million people received a total of $750 million in health care subsidies, even though the recipients could not prove their lawful presence in the United States,” he said. “I cannot vote for a replacement plan that fails to address this problem.”
But in a twist that could alter the dynamics of the next Congress, these anti-establishment Republicans, known as the House Freedom Caucus, could find their influence crippled by the ascension of an anti-establishment figure to the White House.
.. “It has been roses and sunshine. It’s unbelievable,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. “It is just amazing what a difference the Trump victory has made.”
.. The earliest and most ardent backers of Mr. Trump, like Representatives Chris Collins and Lee Zeldin of New York, and Tom Marino and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, are not Freedom Caucus members. They come from the kind of Rust Belt districts that buoyed Mr. Trump to victory last week.
.. But legislation has never been the group’s primary focus. It has instead been united in what it sees as a Robin Hood-like mission to seize power from their party’s leaders on behalf of House members.
.. discussed whether to press for rules changes that would allow committee members to choose their own chairmen, an idea that the leadership would be certain to reject.
.. Mr. Trump’s victory defanged the Freedom Caucus’s most serious threat: a challenge to the speakership of Paul D. Ryanof Wisconsin, which could have been used as leverage toward other goals.
.. A sharply diminished House Republican majority would have empowered the Freedom Caucus
.. “Paul Ryan raised incredible sums of money to help our folks withstand a barrage coming from the other side,” Mr. Collins said in an interview with CNN.
.. But there is one force Republicans do not want to cross, Mr. Cole, who is not a member of the Freedom Caucus, said: their constituents, who supported Mr. Trump in large numbers.