US House Republicans withdraw health care bill
Republican leaders have abruptly pulled their troubled health care overhaul bill off the House floor, short of votes and eager to avoid a humiliating defeat for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders.
Washington (CNN) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan sensationally pulled his Obamacare repeal bill from the floor Friday, a day after President Donald Trump had threatened to walk away from health care reform if he didn't get a vote.
After a dramatic day on Capitol Hill, Ryan rushed from the White House to Capitol Hill to tell Trump he did not have the votes to pass the measure, the culmination of seven years of Republican efforts to eradicate President Barack Obama's proudest domestic achievement.
As Ryan presented the dire vote totals in his meeting with Trump, he explicitly recommended the President pull the bill, according to a senior GOP official. The decision was ultimately Trump's. Trump made the call at 3 p.m., as the rest of House leadership was gathering in Ryan's office.
Ryan told fellow Republicans they are "moving on" from health care, Reps. Andy Barr and Bill Flores told CNN.
The decision to delay the vote marks an acute embarrassment for Trump, who had gambled big by presenting holdout House conservatives with a take-it-or-leave it ultimatum on Thursday night and put his own credibility on the line.
It also puts Ryan in a much weakened political position, after being defied by his own conference, which seems just as unsuited to governing in the Trump era as it was when it was effectively a protest coalition under Obama.
It became clear during a day of intense political intrigue Friday that despite fierce arm-twisting by Trump, Ryan and other leaders that the votes simply were not there to pass the bill and the leadership and the White House were headed for a lopsided defeat.
They were unable to narrow the schism between Freedom Caucus conservatives, who believe the bill keeps to much of Obamacare intact and moderates who worry they will pay an electoral price if millions of Americans lose health insurance.
The House meltdown on Obamacare repeal has perilous implications for the American health care system, with Republicans apparently unable to repeal the law but also unwilling to fix the deficiencies that the White House says will collapse the law.
Politically, Friday's momentous events will race like wildfire through the Republican Party's conservative, establishment base which has been told repeatedly by candidates that the first order of business with the GOP President in the White House would be the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Now the President may decide to go ahead with another priority -- tax reform -- yet the intricacies of that effort may be far more difficult to solve than the GOP divisions over Obamacare.
Before the vote was canceled, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday afternoon that Trump has "left everything on the field when it comes to this bill."
But Republicans had few firm commitments from conservatives and watched a continued exodus of moderates. This was exactly what House leadership was worried would happen when they changed the bill, the source said.
Friday afternoon, moderate Republicans and members of the conservative Freedom Caucus have indicated they won't back the bill.
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