SHAFAQNA – US Republicans have officially pulled their controversial healthcare plan, House Speaker Paul Ryan says, admitting that the party was not able to reach consensus.
Ryan publicly admitted in a press conference on Friday that widespread defections by some Republicans in Congress meant that a vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was destined for defeat.
“We came really close today, but we came up short,” Ryan told reporters, calling off a vote on the bill for the second time in two days.
The bill was supposed to replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Ryan said the decision to pull the bill came after consulting with President Donald Trump, who had promised during the campaign to use his deal-making skills and replace Obamacare when he gets into office.
“I spoke to the president a little while ago and I told him the best thing I think to do was to pull this bill, and he agreed with that. I will not sugarcoat this; this is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard,” he said.
“We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” the speaker acknowledged, thanking Trump for helping “people see the opportunity we have with this bill.”
“Still, we have to do better and we will,” he said, indicating that Republicans would still work to deliver on their 7-year-old promise to repeal Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
Time to move on: Trump
Following the removal of the bill, Trump said it was time to move on from healthcare and focus on other important issues such as tax reform.
In a televised statement, the new Republican president said the healthcare deal was “within grasp” but he was “disappointed” that Democrats and some conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus were not ready to back the AHCA.
Republicans needed at least 215 votes to pass the bill at the House of Representatives but over 30 lawmakers had made it clear that they would firmly vote against the measure.
Predicting that the Obamacare was going to “explode,” Trump said he would no longer seek an alternative to the law unless Democrats are ready to work on a bipartisan measure.
Dems celebrate, offer help on improving Obamacare
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also held a news conference shortly after Ryan’s announcement, calling the news a “victory” for all Americans.
“Today is a great day for our country … it’s a victory for the American people,” she said, while offering Republicans a chance to jointly work on improving Obamacare.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont also hailed the cancellation of the “disastrous” bill, calling it a “major victory” for the working-class.