Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday said his party “came up short” in a news conference minutes after pulling the GOP healthcare bill off the House floor, acknowledging that ObamaCare will stay in place “for the foreseeable future.”
“ObamaCare will remain the law of the land until it’s replaced,” the Speaker said. “We’re going to be living with ObamaCare for the foreseeable future.”
“We came really close today, but we came up short,” he added.
“I spoke to the president a little while ago and I told him the best thing I think to do was to pull this bill, and he agreed with that. I will not sugarcoat this; this is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard.”
Asked if the GOP can prop up ObamaCare instead of repealing it, Ryan said he couldn’t envision that scenario, adding he believes the law is collapsing.
“It is so fundamentally flawed, I don’t know if that is possible,” he said.
Ryan said Republicans will now move on to the rest of their “big, ambitious” agenda and go forward on tax reform as well as rebuilding the military and border security.
Ryan specifically thanked Trump for his help throughout the process, pushing back against speculation that the bill’s failure will divide the White House and House GOP leadership.
“The president gave his all in this effort. He did everything he possibly could to help people see the opportunity we have with this bill. He really has been fantastic,” Ryan said.
“Still, we have to do better and we will.”
Republicans pulled the American Health Care Act Friday afternoon after it became clear they would not have enough support to pass the bill in a planned 3:30 p.m. vote.
GOP leadership and the White House had spent weeks attempting to bring skeptical Republicans on board. Conservatives argued the bill didn’t go far enough to repeal ObamaCare, while moderate lawmakers worried about backlash in their districts from those who came to rely on ObamaCare.
On Thursday night, the White House issued an ultimatum to Republicans to hold the vote on Friday, even as it remained unclear whether the party had the votes to pass the bill.
In the hours ahead of the vote, momentum continued to move away from Ryan as a handful of lawmakers announced their opposition to the bill. At the time it was pulled, The Hill’s Whip List had 36 Republicans against the bill. The GOP could have only afforded 22 defections.
H/T: The Hill