A network of libertarian and conservative donors established by Charles and David Koch is offering a financial safety net to Republican lawmakers who choose to defy their party's leadership and vote against the GOP bill to replace Obamacare.
Two groups, Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity, are offering a "seven-figure" fund to support dissenting Republicans in their 2018 re-election races, according to multiple reports Wednesday evening.
Freedom Partners has condemned the American Health Care Act, which is backed by the Trump administration, saying it would mean "higher costs and fewer choices for Americans."
"Republicans have been promising to fully repeal Obamacare since it became law. This bill doesn't do that," said James Davis, executive vice president of Freedom Partners. "We will stand with lawmakers who keep their promise and oppose this legislation — and work toward a solution that reduces costs and provides Americans with the relief they need and deserve."
Americans for Prosperity listed out four reasons why it dislikes the GOP healthcare bill on its website: it creates a new entitlement with refundable tax credits, preserves insurance regulations and mandates, delays a Medicaid expansion repeal and continues the Cadillac Tax on high-end healthcare plans.
"We want to make certain that lawmakers understand the policy consequences of voting for a law that keeps Obamacare intact," Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips said in a statement. "We have a history of following up and holding politicians accountable, but we will also be there to support and thank the champions who stand strong and keep their promise."
The Koch network's backing could be the deciding factor for several Republicans who are on the fence about the healthcare bill, which lawmakers will vote on Thursday. Members of the 40-member-or-so House Freedom Caucus have expressed opposition to the bill, though they are still reportedly open to having their minds changed.
President Trump met with House Republicans earlier on Wednesday to gin up support for the bill, where, lawmakers attested, he threatened retribution in the 2018 primaries if they didn't support it. He also reportedly warned House Freedom Chair Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., saying "I'm coming after you."