Top Republicans wore a look of defeat on their faces, some with tears in their eyes, following their failure to pass the House Obamacare repeal bill Friday. Chairmen of the committees tasked with marking up the legislation gathered with GOP leadership following the announcement the vote would be pulled from the floor to discuss their next steps.
House Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed Obamacare will be “the law of the land” for the foreseeable future, noting he expects the state of health care to continue to get worse. A number of GOP lawmakers confirmed the timeline is unclear on when they might consider reviving their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“Clearly the president said it’s time to move on — I think a lot of Americans are going to get hurt either by the collapse of Obamacare,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Really good people are going to get hurt. Today was about stopping that from happening and really beginning to focus on patient centered health care.”
Ryan said the failure of the bill could potentially make it harder to get through tax reform. Brady remains optimistic, saying he’s ready to floor the gas on getting a win for the party.
“Just like any good team, you start to get ready for the next game, and that next game is tax reform,” he told TheDCNF. “So we’re all in the present full steam ahead.”
While the loss was a devastating blow to the party — which ran on the promise they would take action to lower health-care costs — members said they’ve learned from the process which will likely make negotiations on future issues less turbulent.
“Many, many of them (House members) who know what it’s like to go bold who can take on complicated issues and are starting to learn the complexity of reconciliation, which has always perplexed the House,” Brady said. We’ll be using that approach in tax reform — so we are just so much farther ahead in our third month here in better prepared for tax reform than we would have ever been without this process.”
After weeks of meetings with lawmakers dissatisfied with the legislation, the administration and proponents of the bill.
House Freedom Caucus members told reporters throughout the week they were trying to get to yes, but as concessions to their request were floated, the support of the centrist Tuesday group began to wane.
As the autopsy of what went wrong begins, leadership and committee chairs say it’s not from a lack of trying to get everyone on board — saying conservatives’ complaints they didn’t have a seat at the table are unwarranted. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden said, despite their attempts to accommodate members across the conference, members would continue to come back with new demands.
“I thought, good discussions all along,” he told reporters. “I, In fact in January invited Mark Meadows in, and we sat down for a better part of an hour because I wanted to bring him into the process early, and Mark Walker, and you know all the different groups and said let’s get this done let’s work together.”
“We had really good discussions all along,” Walden told reporters. “In fact, in January we invited Mark Meadows and we sat down for a better part of an hour because I wanted to bring him into the process early and Mark Walker you know all the different groups and said let’s get this done let’s work together.”
Facing the first major defeat in his speakership, Ryan said he remains proud of the bill they crafted and the approach they took, adding he doesn’t place blame on any particular faction of the party for the bill’s failure.
Leadership sources said they had around 200 votes, coming just short of the 216 needed to get the bill through the lower chamber.
“What we have is a member-driven process to try and get consensus. We came very close, but we did not get that consensus,” Ryan said. “That’s why I thought the wisest thing to do is not — not proceed with the vote, but to pull the bill and see what we can do. But I don’t think the law, as it is fashioned or anything close to it, is really going to be able to survive.”
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