Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), citing moderate Republicans “unwilling to compromise,” resigned from his position as Tuesday Group chairman on Tuesday.
Congressman MacArthur brokered a deal on health care with House Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows (R-NC), known as the MacArthur amendment, that led to the American Health Care Act passing through the House.
“You can’t lead people where they don’t want to go,” MacArthur told Politico in an interview on Tuesday. “I think some people in the group just have a different view of what governing is.”
The New Jersey congressman resigned during the group’s meeting in Washington on Tuesday.
“Clearly, our group is divided. Many in the Tuesday Group are eager to live up to our ideal of being problem-solvers, while others seem unwilling to compromise,” MacArthur told the Tuesday group.
Some Tuesday Group members expressed frustration over compromising with conservatives on the AHCA and were critical of MacArthur for not including other moderate lawmakers in the negotiations with the Freedom Caucus. MacArthur insists that he was not forced to step down.
“I’m not looking to be divisive within the group and I’m not looking to change who I am,” he said in an interview. “I’m going to continue to govern the way I believe the American people need us to govern. That means we engage with the Freedom Caucus. We engage with everybody.”
The former co-chairman will remain a part of the Tuesday Group, which will allow him to pursue future negotiations with other wings of the party without having to upset more recalcitrant members of the group.
MacArthur chided his fellow moderates for their lack of engagement with other members of the Republican party.
“This unwillingness to engage with members of our own party is unacceptable to me,” he said concerning his negotiations with the Freedom Caucus.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows commended the actions of Tom MacArthur, saying that the New Jersey congressman was instrumental in the health care negotiations. He said:
Not only have we made good progress, we have to get give a good shout out to Tom MacArthur and the President and the Vice President for their efforts in the last couple of weeks. It would be a mistake to suggest that had Tom MacArthur, the President, and the Vice President have not gotten involved in this process, then we would not have the options now for everyone to consider. Tom has worked closely hard with Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden and the committee to make sure that what we do is keeping in line with repealing and replacing Obamacare and drives down premiums and keeps pre-existing conditions.
Despite MacArthur’s negotiations with the White House and House leadership, the Tuesday Group’s other co-chair, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), and 11 other members of the Tuesday Group voted against the AHCA.
MacArthur lamented, “More than half of the no votes for the AHCA came from Tuesday Group members, despite almost every one of our members voting numerous times to repeal the ACA. Arguably we have a Congressional majority because of this very issue.”
Read Congressman Tom MacArthur’s prepared remarks here:
After a career in business, I ran for Congress determined to be a serious policymaker and confront the important issues of our day. To that end, I was excited to join an organization of centrist Republicans who brand themselves as the “commonsense, problem-solving wing of the Republican Party.”
For two years, I listened in meetings as some in the Tuesday Group complained about the group’s lack of relevance and inability to get things done. I ran for co-chairman of Tuesday Group because I felt I could help change that – both in perception and reality – and move the ball forward on a number of key issues.
While some embraced my efforts as Co-Chairman, others have bristled. Clearly, our group is divided. Many in the Tuesday Group are eager to live up to our ideal of being problem-solvers, while others seem unwilling to compromise. The recent healthcare debate was illustrative.
More than half of the no votes for the AHCA came from Tuesday Group members, despite almost every one of our members voting numerous times to repeal the ACA. Arguably we have a Congressional majority because of this very issue. Frankly, inaction on healthcare was a non-starter for me, and it should be for our entire party. We owe it to the American people who elected us to fix the Obamacare mess. Just because it’s hard cannot become an excuse to do nothing.
During efforts to reform our healthcare system, I worked with many in the Tuesday Group towards a real solution that would protect the most vulnerable among us, while driving down healthcare costs. I am grateful to my colleagues across the political spectrum and have been encouraged by their support. That being said, it’s clear that some in the Tuesday Group have different objectives and a different sense of governing than I do.
Effective immediately, I resign as co-chair of the Tuesday Group.