In an extraordinary turn of events, Donald Trump and his ally Paul Ryan got a major defeat as the house postponed vote on the highly hyped Obamacare repeal.
Ryan and his allies in the House had rushed to repeal Obama’s signature health care law despite widespread opposition from the majority of Americans and his own party. But his effort came to an abrupt halt after president Trump failed to convince hard-right conservatives to support the bill.
As a result, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and his leadership team announced that they had canceled a vote on the American Health Care Act that was supposed to take place on Thursday evening.
Several news reports suggest that House leaders hope to hold the vote on Friday, but no definite schedule has been released at this writing.
TrumpCare prospects have long been in doubt as far-right members of the House Freedom Caucus have resisted Ryan’s efforts to ram through the bill. The Freedom Caucus has successfully extracted several concessions from the GOP House leadership but ultimately they have not been enough.
In a last-ditch effort to save the bill, President Trump and senior House Republicans held a meeting on Thursday morning with many Freedom Caucus members. That meeting ended without any sort of agreement.
Freedom Caucus members have continuously criticized the GOP’s proposed Obamacare replacement as wasteful and have said it did not remove enough regulations to bring down premiums for people purchasing insurance in the private sector.
After the meeting, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily news briefing that the administration was confident that an accord could be reached.
“We walked out with more members in support of the American Health Care Act today than we started the day with,” Spicer said. “I continue to see that number climb hour by hour. And I anticipate that we will get there.”
The Freedom Caucus has not released a list of its members but it appears to represent about 40 of the 237 Republican House members.
The House Republican delegation has long been fractured by a handful of members from extremely conservative areas whose only re-election fear is a primary challenge from the far right. These members have made it exceptionally difficult for Ryan, and former Speaker John Boehner before him, to pass legislation.
Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the current head of the Freedom Caucus is was voted into his position after he successfully orchestrated Boehner’s ouster in 2015.
Ryan and his leadership colleagues argued that they could not meet the Freedom Caucus’ demands to change the controversial measure without “running afoul of Senate rules” that allow measures to avoid having to reach a 60-vote threshold if they are limited to revenue and spending questions.
Well, that’s what happens when you make a deal with the devil and things start to unravel.