House Republican leaders have shelved legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare after failing to muster enough support from within their own party.
“This is a setback no two ways about it,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a Capitol Hill news conference late Friday.
“We just didn’t quite get consensus today,” Ryan said.
Speaking from the Oval Office, President Donald Trump warned “Obamacare “is exploding” and blamed Democrats for failing to support the GOP replacement plan.
"People will see how bad (Obamacare) is, and it’s getting much worse,” Trump said. “You’re going to see explosive premium increases.”
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Trump said he was disappointed and a little surprised at the failure to gain consensus but also saw the potential for the GOP and Democrats working together going forward.
“I think having bi-partisan would be a big big improvement,” he said. “I think this is going to end up being a very very good thing.”
Republicans have campaigned for years on a pledge to repeal Obamacare if Americans handed them the reins of power in Washington. The decision to yank the bill Friday - just minutes before a scheduled House vote - was a major blow to the GOP and Trump, who had sunk significant political capital into moving the bill.
“We are going to be living with Obamacare for the forseeable future,” Ryan said.
The fate of the White House-backed measure, known as the American Health Care Act, is unclear moving forward. White House officials previously told GOP lawmakers that they would move on to other issues if the current health care bill failed on Friday.
Trump and Ryan both confirmed that Republicans will now turn their focus to tax reform, an area where there is more consensus among conservative lawmakers.
Reaction from Georgia Republicans poured in Friday.
Some said Friday’s about-face did not mark the end of the road in the push to repeal Obamacare.
“The game’s not over,” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville.
“It’s not a win or loss. It’s just we’re taking a half time here to go home, get some rest and come back and continue on.”
Others voiced frustration over the holdouts in the conservative Freedom Caucus that remained opposed to the bill, saying it doesn’t go far enough to gut Obamacare.
Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, said the group “killed the bill ... That’s kind of it.”
“I guess people who like Obamacare can thank the Freedom Caucus and people who wanted us to replace it should know that the majority of us were trying to do the right thing and get a new piece of legislation passed,” Scott said.
Meanwhile, supporters of the bill were dismayed.
Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, called the development “disappointing.”
“But we continue on. We’ve got other issues that we’ve got to cover and I am not one who is giving up on health care. We have got to rescue health care and I’m going to continue to push leadership to get to that subject.”