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Republican Lawmakers Are Tired of Trump’s Approach to Congressional Dealmaking

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are starting to grip about the Trump administration’s tendency to rush legislative items they believe need more time to mature. Privately, they are wondering if the White House comes from the lack of legislative experience or a disregard for the efforts of Republican members of Congress – or maybe even both.

The White House consistently pushed for a fast timeline for the health care bill, which they did pass through the House this week. Despite it passing, many people echoed concerns over Donald Trump’s involvement in the process.

A Republican lawmaker involved in the health care negotiations told IJR on Tuesday morning that Trump has hurt the effort more than he has helped it over the past two months.

Via IJR:

“The White House needs to let the Congress do its job,” a House Republican staffer said. “So many of our problems are coming from things being rushed.”

Recall that the first attempt to pass the bill failed in March when Trump pressured House Speaker Paul Ryan to hold a vote even though it was clear there wouldn’t be enough GOP support for a victory.

The GOP leadership promptly changed course thereafter and took a hands-off approach, leaving members to work out their policy differences. The White House worked through the two-week April recess alongside House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and moderate Tuesday Group co-chair Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) to get a compromise amendment drafted.

That yielded a small but partial victory. The Meadows-led Freedom Caucus then decided to support the bill. Moderates, though, still haven’t embraced it, and there still aren’t enough votes in the Republican conference to kick it to the Senate.

Nevertheless, the administration tried to push the House to vote early again. Officials tried to move it before the president’s 100th day in office in order to tout a symbolic legislative victory. And again, lawmakers didn’t bite, wary of these arbitrary deadlines.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) split with the Trump administration on Friday because he thinks the process should slow down, telling IJR:

“I think it’s just so complicated, and people wanted to get it done real quickly — it’s OK to want to do that — but it’s just a complicated issue. I think everybody’s looking at it right now and saying, ‘Really, this is much more difficult than we thought it was going to be.’”

Drawing on some of the president’s own realizations, he summed up: “This is too complicated to do in a hurry.”

With members of Congress departing for another recess next week, there is even more renewed pressure to move toward a vote this week.

At least publicly, Ryan is trying to play nice.

“The president has been nothing but helpful on health care,” he told reporters at a press conference Tuesday morning.