GLENN: Thomas Massie, a critic of the House's leadership on Obamacare replacement bill is joining us now.
Thomas, how are you, sir?
THOMAS: I am doing great. It's a tale of two chambers today here on Capitol Hill.
GLENN: I bet it is.
THOMAS: You know, in one chamber, you've got Neil Gorsuch doing a great job on his confirmation hearings, and Trump looks like a hero because he listened to conservatives and took advice on the Supreme Court nominee. In the other chamber, you've got this Dumpster fire that we're calling Obamacare-lite, where Trump listened to the swamp creatures. And he's taken a hit in his popularity in trying to get people to vote for something that's not good.
GLENN: He's really come out strongly and said, "If you vote against it, you're going to -- you'll lose your reelection."
THOMAS: Yeah, well, he's got the zeal for the deal, and that's okay. But this is a bad deal.
THOMAS: And the phone calls to my office are 275 opposed to this bill and four supporting it.
JEFFY: There you go.
PAT: That's widespread.
THOMAS: Yeah, pretty wide.
PAT: Congressman, the other thing is the Republicans -- the G.O.P. yesterday just tweaked the provision to crack down on illegal immigrants getting this health care coverage. Right? They took that provision out of the bill.
So they've even done -- they've even done more than the Democrats kind of did with this particular thing because the Democrats kept telling us, no, illegal aliens will not be part of this. And now, as they tried to stop this from happening, it was taken out.
THOMAS: Well, they made another small tweak when people find out about it are not going to be happy. Which, if you're a veteran and you could go to the VA, but you don't go to the VA, the tweak they made last night says you can't get the health care subsidies that everybody else gets when they go into the individual market.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
PAT: What in the -- what are they thinking! What -- what is this?
THOMAS: You know, some of the changes they've made, they say, are because of the so-called birdbath.
GLENN: What the hell is that?
PAT: What's the birdbath?
GLENN: I'd like to drown a lot of these birds.
THOMAS: I call it the hogwash. But it's the bird rule in the Senate that's supposed to make the bill, you know, ecumenical -- or amenable to the parliamentarian. But I think they're just using it as an excuse to keep the things they want for the insurance lobby and to take out the things the insurance lobby doesn't want.
STU: We're talking to Congressman Thomas Massie.
Congressman, let me be a cynic here for just a moment. I was looking at the count from -- I think CNN has a web count from this bill. And I think you can lose, what, 21, is it?
THOMAS: That's right.
STU: Twenty-one votes. And the way they had it broken down was they had lost 19, and there were seven who were leaning no. And, man, does it not look to me that this thing is going to line up, and just, they're going to somehow get this through by one vote. The Freedom Caucus, who we're huge fans of, they're not doing the whole, everyone votes the same way thing on this bill, if I'm understanding that correctly. It seems like they're doing everything they can to kind of have this little wiggle room. And at the last second, they'll give a few things away, and they'll clear this by one vote. So that a lot of people, like yourself, who -- and you've been on record for this from the beginning, you know, fighting it, but everyone is going to be able to say, well, I didn't vote for it, but it's still going to get passed.
GLENN: I've seen this on House of Cards.
STU: That's how this works.
THOMAS: Well, let me what they used to do under Boehner. A lot of times, when it was raising the debt limit or, you know, voting for an omnibus, they would -- when conservatives bucked up, they would go over and get Democrats to vote for it. And so they always had this safety margin. But they don't have that with this bill. And so they can -- it really is 21 votes they can afford to lose.
I've got a Whip vote on my i Phone. Hopefully nobody has hacked it yet. But -- as all the hackers now go after my phone. But 29 conservatives oppose this bill. Those are private conversations I've had with them. They're not leaning no, they're no. Twenty-nine conservatives. That's before you count the moderates who are against this bill. And they're not as audible or public in their opposition, but I think there are probably six of them that are hard-nosed and maybe a dozen more that are leaning no on the moderate side. So if this vote were right now absent the -- the kneecap breaking and the arm twisting, they would probably be short 20 votes. But as you say, the next 24 hours, we're going to see a lot of broken kneecaps.
GLENN: So what happens after this? Let's take it both ways. This passes. What happens?
THOMAS: It's -- it's going to be worse than Obamacare. I tell people, if we're going to do socialized medicine, leave it up to the real architects like Jonathan Gruber. Because we're doing a horrible job of architecting socialized medicine. You cannot keep the requirement that healthy people and sick people pay the same price for insurance and then lose the individual mandate and expect that to work.
GLENN: It won't.
THOMAS: That market is going to go to hell in a handbasket very quickly. And healthy people are going to flee it. And that's my prediction. And we're going to own it. That means prices will spiral upward. And it will be ours to own. And I think the electoral danger here is to the Republicans in passing it, not opposing it. So that's -- I think it's going to be horrible, and that's my prediction.
GLENN: So let's say it doesn't pass and the thing just gets worse and worse and worse. I mean, either way, with -- presented with this, I just don't see the Republicans being able to win anything because if it doesn't past, most likely, it will just sit there and you guys won't do anything. And Obamacare is just -- it's bad. And people are feeling the pain. And they're not going to take it from somebody who had the House, the Senate, and the White House and couldn't fix this. They'll give it to the Democrats, and the Democrats will engineer a single-payer system. And, quite honestly, Donald Trump will sign it.
THOMAS: Well, I think we're being given a false choice here tomorrow, which, you know, they say you have a binary choice, either you pass this or pass nothing. That's a load of bunk. The negotiations actually start when one side says no. And conservatives tomorrow, hopefully there will be enough of us that say no that we can then have a negotiation. And Paul Ryan cannot go to the Democrats and try and architect another version of Obamacare. He has to do this with conservatives. And hopefully, Donald Trump will come and listen to individuals at Heritage and the other conservative organizations, like Freedom Works, that have credibility when we take another crack at this. I don't see Donald Trump as a person who is going to accept failure. If this bill fails tomorrow, we'll come up with a better one.
STU: Are you at all surprised to see him go to bat as hard as he is for this bill? I mean, it doesn't seem -- it's not like this is the bill he ran on. This is clearly a, you know, Paul Ryan type of thing that he just is kind of just getting behind, and I'm surprised to see him throwing his weight around, to try to push through this bill that really didn't -- isn't really similar to what he argued for in the campaign.
THOMAS: Yeah, well, he wasn't big on specifics in the campaign. And I think he believes that if we pass something, he can check this off, put it in the win column and go on to the next battle. You know, he's got a list of things he wants to accomplish.
The problem is I think he's just got the zeal for the deal here. And the deal is not a good deal. He needs to step back and look at it. I just think he's getting bad advice on this one. And I -- the fallout is going to be interesting because I also think he's being misled by Paul Ryan about how many votes there are to pass this thing.
And maybe he'll come to realize that taking advice from Paul Ryan wasn't the best way -- the best thing to kick off his presidency.
GLENN: I just can't believe -- and I don't know how his supporters are going to shake out, but I can't believe Paul Ryan who was, you know, cancer before the election -- he was cancer. Every conservative -- every Republican was like, I got to get rid of Paul Ryan, that he somehow or another is the savior that everybody is listening to or is shouting praises for with Donald Trump.
And I don't know how it's going to shake out because Donald Trump did say he was going to make sure everybody got covered. You want it to go the opposite way than what he does. This is this awful middle ground that we're negotiating. But I don't know how his voters are going to handle it. Because half of his people wanted, you know, Paul Ryan and everybody out. And half of his people wanted more health care from the government.
THOMAS: Yeah. Well, maybe the silver lining in this is that when Trump moves on to tax reform or immigration that he's promised or taking care of the veterans, he will listen to somebody other than Paul Ryan after Paul Ryan drags him through this debacle. And hopefully the American people don't get drug through it. Hopefully this bill fails, and they don't have to be subjected to this experiment in Donald Trump listening to the swamp and coming up with policy.
Hopefully he'll listen to those voices from the outside like he did so well with Neil Gorsuch.
GLENN: I will tell you that the stock market priced in -- you're seeing the stock market cave. The stock market priced in a repeal of Obamacare. They priced in tax cuts. They're now saying that the tax cuts are going to be a lot lower than they thought. And the stock market is on thin ice now because they had priced in all these things, and it doesn't look like some of these things are going to happen. Does the financial situation worry you at all?
THOMAS: Let me tell you something that's false that's being repeated on Capitol Hill. They're saying that this stuff has to happen like clockwork. And if we don't do health care reform, we can't do tax reform. That's absolutely false. If you go back and look at how the Democrats implemented Obamacare, they did a reconciliation bill, literally a week after they did Obamacare so that they could fix it. And they included student loans in that.
THOMAS: You can put whatever you want in reconciliation. You can double up and put more than one thing in it. It doesn't have to be health care in this reconciliation bill. Tax reform can still happen. It is not linked to this debacle of a health care bill that we're calling Obamacare-lite.
GLENN: Representative Thomas Massie, thanks so much. And thanks for your leadership on this. We're counting on you guys to do the right thing and actually return us to a free market which would be very, very nice.
THOMAS: Well, thank you, Glenn. It's called the walk of shame here in Congress. When somebody votes one way, and then before the vote closes, they twist their arm and get them to walk down to the counter and turn in a different voting card. Hopefully, we won't see too many conservatives take that walk of shame tomorrow.
GLENN: Are you feeling the pressure? I mean, how much pressure is on these guys?
THOMAS: Well, Trump was in Kentucky a day before yesterday, in my state. And the week before that, Pence was there. And Donald Trump was giving rides to Kentucky congressmen on Air Force One. But I noted, I haven't even gotten a ride on Amtrak One yet.
GLENN: Wow. Wow.
THOMAS: So I think the pressure is on the other members who they think are more likely to switch.
GLENN: Are you concerned that the -- you know, Trump does not forget who was against him. Are you concerned at all that they will campaign against you?
THOMAS: That's not really a concern for me. I've had so many people here in DC -- it would be ironic if he joins the swamp creatures and goes after conservatives back in their districts, but I don't think that's going to happen. I think when this is all said and done, he may be more upset with Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan than he is with the people that supported him in his election, frankly.
GLENN: Thomas Massie, thank you very much. I appreciate it.