Lacking Enough Votes, Paul Ryan Pulls Obamacare Replacement Bill

Written by Melissa Quinn, 3-24-17 at The Daily Signal:

House Speaker Paul Ryan abruptly withdrew the GOP’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare Friday afternoon after it became clear Republicans didn’t have the votes to pass the plan.

The news came just minutes before the lower chamber was expected to vote on the bill, called the American Health Care Act, and after Ryan, R-Wis., huddled with President Donald Trump at the White House. The bill also faced Republican opposition in the Senate.

Trump and Ryan spent the better part of the past two weeks trying to court conservative lawmakers and centrist Republicans, who had doubts about the proposal and planned to vote against it.

But ultimately, their charm offensive proved to do little to sway the Republican conference.

Now, Republicans will head back to the drawing board as they work to fulfill their years-long promise to repeal Obamacare.

The House initially was scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday—exactly seven years after President Barack Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

But Republican leaders postponed the vote Thursday afternoon after they failed—even with repeated efforts by Trump—to rally enough support for the plan.

Ryan quickly scheduled the vote for Friday after White House budget director Mick Mulvaney delivered a message from Trump to Republicans: Vote on the bill now, and if it fails, Obamacare remains.

“He has other things he wants to do,” Mulvaney said of Trump in an interview with CNBC. “‘Impatient’ is not the right word. ‘Busy’ would be the right way to describe this president.”

Ryan and other House GOP leaders unveiled the long-awaited plan to repeal and replace Obamacare two weeks ago.

Though Republicans long had promised to unwind the health care law, which passed without a single Republican vote, the leadership’s bill received little support from conservatives, centrist Republicans, and outside groups.

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus took issue with several of the bill’s key provisions, including its phasing out of expanded eligibility for Medicaid and introducing age-based, refundable tax credits.

The House’s right flank gradually whittled its list of demands down to just one: repeal of Obamacare’s insurance regulations, including its mandate of “essential” benefits—provisions they said drove up the price of insurance premiums.

Those essential health benefits are 10 services that insurance plans had to cover without co-payments.

GOP leaders ultimately gave conservatives part of what they wanted.

Along with a series of technical changes, they altered the bill Thursday to allow states to define which health benefits were required to be included in plans.

But it was not enough to win enough conservatives’ votes and left some centrist Republicans edgy.

While conservative lawmakers weren’t shy in speaking out against the legislation, the hours before Friday’s expected vote also saw more defections by centrist Republicans.

Earlier this week, Tuesday Group leader Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., said he planned to oppose the bill, along with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., and several New Jersey Republicans.

On Friday, though, House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., and Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., allies of the speaker, said they wouldn’t support the bill.

The White House made many attempts to woo conservatives and convince them to vote in favor of the plan.

Trump held several meetings with the Freedom Caucus, and administration officials spoke on the phone frequently with Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the group’s chairman.

Just hours before the scheduled vote Friday, Vice President Mike Pence met with conservative members in a last-ditch attempt to sway them.

Republican leaders were left in a tough spot after conservatives and the list of centrist Republicans opposing the bill began to grow.

With 237 House seats held by Republicans , leadership could afford to lose only 22 “no” votes. All Democrats were expected to vote against it.


Considering that the repeal of O’care was one of Trump’s foremost campaign promises, he’d better revisit this at some point if he doesn’t want supporters turning against him. Not delivering on this will dog him for the rest of his presidency and kill any chances of a second term.

 Trump made some big promises that Republicans couldn’t keep, because they weren’t conservative promises. It seems the Freedom Caucus finally stood their ground and said no to this catastrophe, but Paul Ryan basically ignored their suggestions and attempted to give Trump what he wanted, with the end result being he gave nobody what they wanted.

Not in office 90 days yet, and Trump has already had his first come-uppance from conservatives. How will he address it to the people? Will he blame Ryan? The Caucus? And finally, will he fare any better when it comes to working with them on tax reform and budget cuts?


Categories: Political

Tags: , ,

7 replies

  1. This is yet one more example of the gutless, feckless, and wimpy so-called leadership of the Republicans in Congress. They had 7-8 years and knew of the promises Trump made during the campaign. They knew what conservatives wanted and what we expected and this bag of excrement is what they (tried) to give us.

    I DO blame Trump. He knew what he promised and I’m sure he knew what was expected by those who voted for him. He never should have accepted nor supported that bag o’crap that Ryan tried to sell us. I blame the whole bunch of them. We’ve been PROMISED a REPEAL of Obamacare ever since it was enacted and this was the best they could do?

    I have one word for this whole fiasco – BULLSHIT!


    • You probably recall that earlier I wondered if Trump had even seen Ryan’s proposal, but I later learned that it’s been available since March the 6th, so of course he’s seen it. Not only did he approve it, he made great efforts to help Ryan sell it to the others, even though it wasn’t what he promised us.

      Trump has done some really good things, so it’s easy to forget that he’s not a true conservative. It didn’t take long for him to switch from full repeal to Ryan’s copy & paste revision. Naturally all the Trumpsters are blaming Ryan alone, but they’re both guilty.


  2. This abortion of a bill contained none of the things Trump promised last year. He should start with those items, and then sit down with some of the Freedom Caucus and a few Senators like Paul, Cruz, and Lee, and flesh out a framework that the Congressional staffers can then fill in with less than 500 pages.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All good questions, Kathy. I fully expect Trump to blame the Freedom Caucus, even though they were the only ones actually standing strong to keep the campaign promise of REPEAL and replace. I suspect Trump discovered in this process that he and Paul Ryan are more alike than he ever realized.

    I’m sick and tired of hearing people mumble, “This is the best we can do,” like a bunch of brainwashed zombies. No one can conceive of life beyond government-subsidized/regulated healthcare anymore, it seems. That was Obama’s plan and it’s working pretty well. I’m sure he’s laughing his skinny butt off watching the fruits of his evil scheme.

    Trump is betting that people will be angry over the failure to get rid of Obamacare (even though he wasn’t really doing that), and that they’ll blame conservatives. He seems to think he can force them into an impossible choice of Obamacare or Obamacare-lite. Here’s my question: What’s to stop congress from working on this bill (or better yet, a new bill) until it satisfies conservatives and voting on it at that time whether it happens to be convenient for Trump or not? Why don’t THEY give HIM the ultimatum of “Sign this or live with Obamacare?” They are an equal branch of gov’t and as long as Trump wants to keep his promise to repeal/replace Obamacare the cards they hold are as every bit as good as Trumps, if only some of them would bother to check their hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What’s to stop them? Maybe several things…they saw themselves as powerless for years under O and behaved as if they truly were. They have no fight in them and evidently they were as convinced as the Dems that Hillary was going to win and didn’t attempt a revision even as late as 2016. Until they see themselves as a formidable force (if ever) they will always be the party of the ‘this is the best we can do.’


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: