Paul Ryan: Obamacare Repeal Could Take Months

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress is still likely a ways out from repealing and replacing Obamacare as GOP lawmakers remain at an impasse over changes to the legislation.

In the wake of the White House-backed legislation being pulled from the floor in March due to a lack of consensus, leadership has taken the backseat to the administration on handling negotiations, allowing members to work out a deal using a bottom-up approach. While members of the conference say they’ve made progress, a divide over a number of key provisions remains evident between the faction, leaving the timeline on a vote in flux as Congress gears up to leave for its two-week recess Thursday.

According to Ryan, it could be months before they reach a consensus on health-care reform.

“We’ve gotten pretty far in coming together,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “but I also think we’re not there yet — because the stakes are so high, and people are just having to get used to” governing in the majority.

He noted the majority of GOP members of the House have not served with a Republican in the White House, adding they are still adjusting to the change.

“We are going through the inevitable growing pains that we must go through to convert from being a 10-year opposition party to being a governing party within the span of four months,” Ryan said at a Wednesday event hosted by WisPolitics.com. “And so, did I ever think it would go perfectly? No, of course not. Two-thirds of our members have never served with a Republican president before.”

While the cancellation of the vote on the initial legislation dealt a blow to their agenda for the first 200 days, leadership has assured they haven’t given up on following through with their promise to constituents.

A number of members were hoping to see the bill hit the floor before Friday, by Ryan said members have weeks to work on improving the legislation.

Ryan has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to put an “artificial deadline” in place, arguing it’s too important an issue for the party to get wrong.

“We’ve got a couple months at least,” he told the Journal Sentinel.

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