(CBS) — At President Trump’s request, House Speaker Paul Ryan has pulled the GOP’s health care overhaul bill from consideration.
The decision was a humiliating setback for the president and congressional leaders.
In an interview with the New York Times, Trump blamed Democrats, saying they eventually will seek a deal on a new law after “Obamacare explodes” under the pressure of increasing insurance premiums.
The move comes after it became clear Republicans lacked votes to pass the bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare. In the end, staunch conservatives opposed the bill, contending it didn’t go far enough to repeal the ACA, while moderates were worried that the new bill would leave too many Americans without insurance.
“We are feeling those growing pains today,” Ryan said at a news conference on Friday afternoon. “I will not sugarcoast this. This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard.”
Ryan appealed to opponents to find common ground.
“We have to do better,” he said, admitting it is much easier to be the opposition party, rather than a governing party that needs to find consensus. “This is a setback”
Ryan warned that Obamacare is “fundamentally flawed” and is destined to fail.
“We will be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
A vote had been scheduled for this afternoon, and earlier today, Trump had been demanding an up or down vote on the bill.
After Ryan went to the White House around midday to tell Trump the bill wouldn’t pass, Trump later called the speaker and told him to pull the bill, CBS News reports.
Vice President Mike Pence and Tom Price, the health secretary, went to Capitol Hill to find votes earlier Friday, without success.
According to published reports, up to 45 Republican lawmakers were opposed to the plan, leaving the party far short of the 216 votes it needed to pass.
From the beginning, House Democrats were united in their opposition to the new proposed health care measure. Rep. John Lewis called the bill a “shame.”
“My heart breaks for the disabled, for women, for seniors, and working families,” he said.
One Illinois Democrat blasted Trump.
Sen. Dick Durbin tweeted that it’s time for Republicans to put their plan to repeal ACA in the rearview mirror.
President Trump will supposedly turn his attention to tax cuts, immigration and infrastructure.