Republicans are back to the drawing board after failing to move the controversial American Health Care Act through Congress.
“ObamaCare is the law of the land, it’s going to remain the law of the land until it’s replaced,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan Friday after cancelling a vote on the GOP ObamaCare repeal bill. “We did not have quite the votes to replace this law.”
Supporters were 10-15 votes short of achieving a majority, and Trump says he is “disappointed” by hardcore conservatives who refused to support the bill. “I’m a little surprised, to be honest with you. We really had it. It was pretty much there within grasp,” said Trump, adding that the administration “learned a lot” and will use the experience to construct an “even better” healthcare bill in the future.
Conservative Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert criticized GOP leaders for writing the bill “in secret” and then forcing it on reluctant voters. “If I were president I wouldn’t deal with healthcare anymore, but as legislators it is a problem and we should pick it right back up, do it the right way, get everybody with a different interest in the room together,” said Gohmert.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) resigned from the House Freedom Caucus after many of its members actively opposed the bill. “To deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward,” said Poe. “Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas.”
Vice President Mike Pence addressed worried Americans this Saturday, assuring them that Trump would “keep fighting” for a solution.
“ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” the president tweeted on Saturday.
Trump, who made a full-court press to pass the American Health Care Act, said ObamaCare’s unavoidable collapse would be blamed on the Democrats who are refusing to cooperate in finding a solution. “I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because they now own ObamaCare,” he said.
Pelosi and Schumer were only too happy to take the blame. “Today’s a great day for our country,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “It’s a victory for the American people.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said Republicans just “can’t write policy that actually makes sense. They can’t implement the politics they do write.”
Both Democratic lawmakers have agreed that they will cooperate with Trump on some changes to the ACA, but neither has suggested any pieces that could draw support from both sides.
Replacing ObamaCare is a complicated and sensitive issue. It will happen, but it’s going to take time. Let’s not forget that the Affordable Care Act was passed more than a year into Obama’s administration.
In the meantime, Trump and Ryan have turned their focus on tax reform.