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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

President Trump is meeting with conservative group leaders this afternoon, and Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney has invited Freedom Caucus members to go bowling next week. But the message from the conservatives is clear: It's going to take more than schmoozing to change their minds on the Obamacare replacement plan the House Republican leadership wants. They want big, substantive changes — enough to make it a fundamentally different bill.

What Trump is doing: He's bringing in leaders of some of the most powerful outside groups that have been agitating against the bill, including Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action, and Club for Growth. In the meantime, Mulvaney has been getting more involved, showing up at last night's Freedom Caucus meeting and making clear that the bill is open to substantial changes, according to a Freedom Caucus aide.

What the Freedom Caucus wants: The problem is that the group wants more than just tweaks around the edges of the current bill. The conservatives want to get rid of the refundable tax credit, which they believe will be used by millions more people than the Obamacare tax credits. They also want to end the Medicaid expansion, not let the states that already expanded Medicaid keep getting extra money. And they want more in the bill that would explicitly reduce health care costs. "It's not going to look anything like what the leadership wants," said the Freedom Caucus aide.

This can't be fixed with schmoozing: Sources familiar with the interactions say that Paul Teller — the man picked to reach out to House conservatives — is trusted by the Freedom Caucus in a way that they don't trust other members of the administration. Teller understands the caucus' dynamics and he's doing a combination of gentle pushing and listening, carrying back changes to the administration. But a Freedom Caucus source said that there's nothing Teller can say or do. The changes need to be major.

Yes, but: An administration official said that while the conservatives have to be able to tell their constituents that they got some changes, "I'm not so sure the changes will be so major."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.