Billionaires Charles and David Koch are reportedly planning to withhold campaign donations to Republicans who vote in favor of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), according to Politico.
The Koch brothers are the major funders of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Freedom Partners — two organizations that have made massive donations to Republicans over the last decade.
This move by the Kochs highlights the infighting happening within the conservative movement. The AHCA was written by Republican House Leadership and is supported by President Donald Trump; however, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus (HFC) have dubbed the bill ‘Obamacare 2.0,’ and made clear their intentions to ensure the bill does not pass the House of Representatives.
HFC member Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) said that even though the White House has been pressuring congressmen over the past few days, there are still at least 22 HFC members that will oppose the bill — a significant number based on recent whip counts. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that he believes the bill will pass, yet Trump himself is taking last minute action and attempting to negotiate with different House members.
This week, the White House warned Republican members that they may be in danger of losing reelection if they voted against the AHCA, which makes the Kochs’ promise that much more important. Donations from the Kochs and Koch-funded super PACs may give Republicans more flexibility to challenge threats from the executive branch.
According to the Politico report on the Koch brothers, AFP has already started planning digital ad campaigns in favor of those who vote against the bill. AFP president Tim Phillips said:
“We want to make certain that lawmakers understand the policy consequences of voting for a law that keeps Obamacare intact. 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.”
As for the Kochs, they have made no secret of their desire to have Obamacare repealed, but this latest move does more to inject confusion into the discussion of what the American healthcare system will look like in the future.
AHCA is scheduled to be voted on today; however, if Speaker Ryan and the House Leadership decide that the bill does not have enough support, they may pull the bill and reschedule the vote for a later time.