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Caitlin Owens Feb 28, 2017
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GOP leaders and conservatives play Obamacare chicken

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

Enough House and Senate conservatives now oppose leadership's Obamacare repeal and replacement plan that the bill would fail without their votes. But instead of caving to their demands, leadership is plowing ahead, assuming members won't dare to vote against Obamacare repeal at the end of the day.

"I think it's bad practice to say what you will never do, because eventually we're going to have to vote for a bill," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters. "And it's not going to be perfect. And if we don't do that, then we will have failed one of our most basic promises to voters, that we'd repeal and replace Obamacare."

But this turns into a game of chicken, because the conservatives aren't backing down either. "I am not going to go along with something that harms my constituents just so I can say that I've supported something that has a different name than Obamacare," House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows told me.