Radical Republican Caucus Presents Trump With a Wish List

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Radical Republican Caucus Presents Trump With a Wish List

Ally Boguhn

The House Freedom Caucus is targeting the Obama administration’s recent Title X clarification that says states cannot block funding for reproductive health-care providers that supply abortion care.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus released an agenda this week outlining 228 regulations they hope President-elect Trump will undo in his first 100 days in office, including protections for transgender students and safeguards for reproductive health care.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who was recently named chairman of the group of stringently anti-choice Republicans, has been in contact with Trump’s transition team “and intends to encourage and work with the new administration to roll back these regulations within the first 100 days of President-elect Trump’s term,” according to a Wednesday press release.

Tucked away among the Republican group’s laundry list of priorities is a call to “reverse the 2015 rule dictating which preventive health care services must be covered under employer-provided health insurance policies” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The preventative services the Freedom Caucus wants to stop covering include hormonal contraceptives and sterilization, along with emergency contraceptives, which the group falsely describes as “effectively abortion.”

The caucus also takes aim at the Obama administration’s recent Title X clarification that says states cannot block funding for reproductive health-care providers that supply abortion care. This has been an increasingly popular way for Republicans in state legislatures to roll back funding for Planned Parenthood, though most federal funding for abortion is already blocked by the Hyde Amendment.

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Another federal regulation under attack is a guidance issued by the Department of Education and the Justice Department specifying that transgender and gender-nonconforming students are protected from discrimination under Title IX. The Freedom Caucus’s agenda pushed the conservative myth of the so-called bathroom predator to justify its anti-LGBTQ stance, falsely claiming that the federal rule protecting these students “places children at risk.”

The far-right congressional group wants Trump to dismantle nutritional standards for school lunch programs, paid sick leave for federal contractors, and a requirement that all public housing be smoke-free.

The Freedom Caucus intends to create a plan to overhaul Social Security and Medicare within the first month of Congress’s next session, Meadows told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

“These last 8 years, we have seen a disturbing trend of the federal government unnecessarily inserting themselves more and more into the lives of hardworking Americans—and the results have been economically disastrous,” Meadows said in a statement.

“My colleagues and I look forward to helping President-elect Trump in any way we can as we work toward the most productive ‘first 100 days’ in modern history,” he said.

The House Freedom Caucus and its members are known for their hardline opposition to abortion rights and LGBTQ equality. Meadows told Politico after becoming chairman of the caucus that the GOP leadership’s tentative plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gradually replace it would be met “with major resistance from Freedom Caucus members.”

The group would prefer the Republican Party work to push through complete repeal and replacement during the next session of Congress.

Advocates for LGBTQ rights and evidence-based reproductive health policies slammed the caucus’ list of priorities for the incoming administration.

“In a ridiculous hit list of policies they want revoked, the House Freedom Caucus is shamefully demanding a rollback of protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people—protections the majority of Americans support,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign. “These guidelines ensure Americans aren’t denied health care simply because of who they are or whom they love and ensure transgender students have the same opportunities as their peers to thrive in a classroom. They are crucially important protections that absolutely must remain in place. Lives depend on them”