One day after the law’s seventh anniversary, federal Republicans surrendered on the matter of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it became popularly known, and declared it to be “the law of the land,” in the words of Speaker Paul Ryan. Speaker Ryan cancelled Friday’s scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act, congressional Republicans’ proposed Obamacare replacement, preventing the bill’s near-certain defeat. After cancelling the vote, Ryan held a press conference and conceded defeat.
“I will not sugarcoat this, this is a disappointing day for us,” Ryan said at the press conference. “This is a setback, no two ways about it.”
“We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
Ryan had previously scheduled the AHCA vote on Thursday, but the votes were lacking and he pulled the bill. President Donald Trump then called on Ryan to schedule the vote for Friday. President Trump said that if the vote did not succeed, the Republican Party would move on and Obamacare would remain. The President was effectively trying to call the bluff of the bill’s opponents, primarily the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and force them to either vote for a bill they did not love or keep Obamacare in place. However, that attempt did not work and votes, even from the moderate wing of the party, continued to peel away.
In the bill’s final hours, the White House and Ryan differed on strategy as the Administration wanted the vote to take place so unsupportive House members would have to identify themselves as both, under their spin, for Obamacare and against the President. Ryan disagreed on this approach and was able to convince President Trump to pull the bill.
The American Health Care Act faced struggles as moderates saw it as too heavy on the repeal part of repeal and replace whereas conservatives thought there was not enough repeal. The House Freedom Caucus, led by Congressman Mark Meadows (R), was critical in the bill’s defeat.
Publicly, President Trump and Speaker Ryan were praising of each other and not assigning blame.
“The president gave his all in this effort,” Ryan said of the President. “He’s been fantastic.”
Of Ryan, President Trump said, “I like Speaker Ryan. He worked very hard.”