House Republicans have been surprised by a number of Conservative groups coming out against the American Health Care Act (AHCA). One of them is the Club For Growth, an organization led by former Congressman David M. McIntosh of Indiana.
The group has called for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and wanted it to be the first act of the new Congress on January 3. But the group doesn’t like what House Speaker Paul Ryan has come up with.
The 58-year-old McIntosh is married to Ruth McManis and a graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago.
Here’s a look at McIntosh and why his group doesn’t like the AHCA.
1. Club For Growth Dubbed the AHCA ‘Ryancare’
Club For Growth announced on March 7 that it cannot endorse “Ryancare,” as they called it. Here’s McIntosh’s explanation:
“The problems with this bill are not just what’s in it, but also what’s missing: namely, the critical free-market solution of selling health insurance across state lines. Such an injection of competition would lead to hundreds of billions of dollars in savings, nullifying any argument by Congressional Republicans that this provision cannot be included in the current bill. If this warmed-over substitute for government-run health care remains unchanged, the Club for Growth will key vote against it. Republicans should be offering a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare’s taxes, regulations, and mandates, an end to the Medicaid expansion, and inclusion of free-market reforms, like interstate competition.”
McIntosh still wants to see Obamacare immediately repealed. In an op-ed for The Hill, he wrote that it should have been the first thing Republicans did when the new Congress started in early January. He wrote that taking three years to replace Obamacare would be three years too long.
“ObamaCare was created by Democrats as an intentionally obtuse and complicated law,” McIntosh wrote. “Unwinding it and putting patient-centered, free-market reforms in its place will not be easy. But this Congress should fulfill the mandate that it was given by voters.”
“The longer it takes to repeal and replace ObamaCare, the harder it will get. Democrats will use any delay or hint of hesitancy to stir up trouble,” he continued.
2. McIntosh Tried Unsuccessfully to Get Back Into Congress in 2012
McIntosh was in the House from 1995 to 2001, representing Indiana’s second congressional district. In 2001, future Vice President Mike Pence took over. In 2003, Pence’s seat was redistricted to the sixth district.
Since leaving Congress, McIntosh has tried and failed a couple of times to re-enter politics as an elected politician. In 2000 and 2004, he ran for the Indiana governorship. He lost to Frank O’Bannon in the 2000 general election and dropped out of the 2004 race before the Republican primary.
In 2012, McIntosh tried to get back into the House of Representatives, running for Indiana’s fifth district. He lost in the primary to eventual winner and current House Ethics Committee Chairwoman Susan Brooks.
Ultimately, in November 2014, McIntosh was named the president of the Club for Growth.
“The Club for Growth is known as America’s premier organization for fighting big-government liberals in both parties, and I’m looking forward to building on that reputation,” McIntosh said in a statement to the Indy Star. “The club is the tip of the spear when it comes to holding members of Congress accountable for their actions, and we’ll continue to do just that under my leadership.”
3. Donald Trump Accused McIntosh of a ‘Shakedown’ Before He Announced His Presidential Campaign
As The Washington Times reported in June 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump accused McIntosh of trying to engineer a “shakedown” before he launched his ultimately successful presidential campaign.
The Times reported that in an email to supporters, Trump claimed that he had a 30-minute meeting with McIntosh and wanted Trump to donate $1 million to Club for Truth. The same week that email was sent out, McIntosh criticized Trump, saying he “should not be taken seriously” and “many of his propositions make him better suited to take on Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.”
“I am appalled by Mr. McIntosh’s shameless pandering and blatant shakedown attempt, exposing him and the Club for Growth as a fraud,” Trump said in a statement at the time.
A spokesman for Club for Growth responded to the email by calling it a “childish attack.” “If Donald Trump wants to pretend to be a candidate for president, then he should get some thicker skin,” the spokesman told the Times.
4. McIntosh Later Praised Trump’s Appointments, Especially Reince Priebus
Early on in Trump’s transition, McIntosh told Newsmax that he was impressed by Trump’s early appointments, especially his decision to pick Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff.
“Priebus is the most conservative head of the Republican party in my lifetime and I think he will do a great job as chief of staff,” McIntosh told the conservative media outlet. “I think he’s starting to fill out the team at the transition with the right people, putting [Vice President-elect] Mike Pence in charge, [Sen.] Jeff Sessions. I’m looking forward to good appointments.”
McIntosh admitted that the club For Growth wasn’t quite confident that Trump could shake up Washington, but he thinks Trump has the opportunity to do so. “I honestly believe what’s best for middle America right now is less government and more opportunities for people in the private sector,” McIntosh told Newsmax.
Another Trump appointment the group really liked was Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. The Club for Growth praised itself for its successful campaign to get her confirmed.
“Betsy DeVos’ work for school choice presents a clear threat to the status quo of the teachers unions and they declared war on her nomination. That’s why the Club launched a six-figure investment in TV and digital ads, and robocalls, to caution potential Republican defectors, and to tell constituents in some conservative states that their Senators voted with Washington special interests,” McIntosh said in a statement.
5. While in Congress, McIntosh Fought to Cut Federal Health & Safety Regulations
During his early years in Congress, McIntosh put his energy into cutting pushing for a limit of federal regulations. Even health and safety regulations were not safe from his criticism. As The New York Times reported in 1995, McIntosh was the leader of an attempt in the House to cut the funding to the federal agencies that enforce these regulations.
“The laws would remain on the books, but there would be no money to carry them out. It’s a signal to the agencies to stop wasting time on these regulations,” McIntosh told the Wall Street Journal at the time.
Therefore, it should be no surprise that McIntosh praised Trump’s executive order to have two regulations cut for every new one.
“This is what it will take to finally tackle the federal regulatory beast,” McIntosh said in a statement in January. “The regulatory state has run amuck for decades. Now, the agencies and Congress have to get to work and take the lead on repealing costly Obama regulations, and stopping bad regulations in the future.”