FreedomWorks, an advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers, rallied March 15 in Washington, D.C., to demand repeal of the Affordable Care Act. (Screen shot via YouTube)

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are known to have strong influence in Washington, D.C., and this week they wielded their political power in a bid to bring down the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

House Republicans killed the AHCA after it failed to gather enough support from GOP representatives. The bill, which was intended to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) struggled to garner support from within the GOP since its introduction by House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier in March.

The decision to pull the bill came two days after Koch-affiliated groups announced they would support Republicans who opposed it, CNN reports:

In a last-minute effort to sink the Republican health care bill, a powerful network of conservative donors said Wednesday it would create a new fund for Republican 2018 reelection races — but they’ll only open it up to GOPers who vote against the bill.

The advocacy groups helmed by Charles and David Koch have unveiled a new pool of money for advertisements, field programs and mailings that would exclude those who vote for the health care bill they oppose[d] on Thursday. The effort, which they described as worth millions of dollars, is an explicit warning to on-the-fence Republicans from one of the most influential players in electoral politics not to cross them. …

The vote is not a litmus test: Other money and resources would still be available to Republicans who do not vote with the network, formally called the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce. But those who vote with the network will have access to more.

Two of the Koch-funded advocacy groups, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners, have regularly lobbied Republican lawmakers. A third Koch-funded advocacy group, Club for Growth, and the Koch-nurtured House Freedom Caucus, also opposed the bill.

Shortly after the bill was introduced, leaders of Freedom Partners sent a letter to Ryan and other committee chairmen. “As the bill stands today, it is Obamacare 2.0,” the letter read. “We cannot support it.”

USA Today wrote in early March:

At a Capitol Hill rally Tuesday attended by about 200 Koch-aligned activists, Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips warned that Republicans “will have the shortest-lived majority in the modern era” of they don’t toss the law on “the ash heap of history.” …

Tuesday’s rally on the rooftop of a building in sight of the Capitol Dome kicked off what the Koch groups said will be a sustained advertising and grassroots campaign, dubbed “You Promised,” to demand that Republicans seize on their unified control of Washington to kill the law. …

“We have spent tens and tens of millions to fully repeal Obamacare, and we’ll commit whatever resources” are needed, said Levi Russell, a spokesman for Americans for Prosperity. “We plan on seeing it through.”

“This is nothing new for Americans for Prosperity,” the group’s policy director, Akash Chougule, told NPR’s Audie Cornish on Thursday. “[T]his is what Americans for Prosperity exists to do.”

The failure of the bill shows a fracture among House Republicans. Although many representatives aligned with the Koch brothers’ stance, some GOP centrists opposed the bill because they were struggling to ally with President Trump. And several Republican senators opposed the bill because their states opted to expand Medicaid under the ACA.

Chougule explained that the bill “simply does not go far enough” in dismantling the ACA, a sentiment shared by many Republican representatives.

While Chougule proposed that lawmakers should “freeze [ACA] enrollment now,” Ryan presented a different vision for the future during a news conference Friday.

“Obamacare is the law of the land,” Ryan stated. “We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

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