In a dramatic move, Republican leaders abruptly pulled the Obamacare alternative from the House floor on Friday, after facing a revolt among conservatives and moderates in their ranks. The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, and the White house pulled the American Health Care act from the vote at the last second, saying “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” Early Friday, the House Speaker made a trip to the White House to plead with President Trump to postponed the vote, revealing that it was at least 30 votes shy, however, it was not immediately clear who made the final call.
Trump was reportedly pushing for the final vote regardless, but in the last seconds before the 3:30pm roll call, Trump told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa that he’d pulled the bill from the floor. Ryan’s office told reporters that the vote had been “postponed.”
In the aftermath, Trump told Costa that he ultimately blamed Democrats for the failure, saying that they should have been willing to work with Republicans on a bill before Obamacare became completely untenable. He didn’t address the fact that his party had more than enough votes to pass the bill even without Democrats.
Rep. Ryan told reporters that pulling the bill marked a “failure,” but said there simply weren’t enough votes to go forward. “We believed this bill was the right way to go,” he said. “But we didn’t get the consensus to get there.” He added that the team from the White House had been “supportive.”
Ryan, like the President, cautioned that Obamacare itself was “imploding,” and that something needed to be done. He did note, though, that leadership would be examining other options in the coming days—not sometime in the distant future, as the White House seems to want.
Early Friday, reports from within Congress seemed to indicate a falling out between the White House and Ryan, with some sources close to the bill speculating that the White House was pulling support in an effort to force Ryan to stand behind his legislation. Trump’s comments Friday evening seem to indicate Ryan and Trump were on the same page – at least, in terms of helping Republicans avoid a major embarrassment.