House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. reacts to a reporters question on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017, following a Freedom Caucus meeting. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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The Republican Party of "no" for Democrat Barack Obama's eight years is having a hard time getting to "yes" in the early Donald Trump era. The unmitigated failure of the GOP bill to replace Obamacare underscored that Republicans are a party of upstart firebrands, old-guard conservatives and moderates in Democratic-leaning districts. Despite the GOP monopoly on Washington, they are pitted against one another and struggling for a way to govern.The divisions cost the party its best chance to fulfill a seven-year promise to undo Obama's Affordable Care Act and cast doubt on whether the Republican-led Congress can do the monumental – the first overhaul of the nation's tax system in more than 30 years – as well as the basics – keeping the government open at the end of next month, raising the nation's borrowing authority later this year and passing the 12 spending bills for federal agencies and departments.While the anti-establishment bloc that grew out of the tea party's rise helped the Republicans win majorities in Congress in 2010 and 2014, the internal divide, complicated further by Trump's independence, threatens the GOP's ability to deliver on other promises.After all that winning, former Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour cast the GOP as an expansive party with multiple factions.
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