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After an embarrassing setback in his legislative push, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that pulling the GOP leadership’s bill to overhaul the US healthcare system from the House floor meant Obamacare would remain “the law of the land” for the foreseeable future.
“We came really close today, but we came up short,” Ryan said after House Republican leaders pulled the American Health Care Act.
“I will not sugarcoat this: This is a disappointing day for us,” Ryan said. “Doing big things is hard. All of us, all of us – myself included – we will need time to reflect on this moment and what we could have done to do it better.”
The GOP could not come to an agreement on the AHCA, with conservatives arguing that the bill did not go far enough and moderates saying they disliked some of its provisions.
Ryan said he had met with Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and that Meadows had “made clear to me that the votes weren’t going to be there from their team.”
When it had become apparent shortly before the scheduled vote that they did not have enough votes to pass the bill in the House, Ryan and President Donald Trump agreed to pull it.
Despite the defeat, Ryan praised the bill, saying it would have made “a dramatic improvement in our healthcare system” and provided “relief for people hurting under Obamacare.”
The speaker said Republicans would not try to overhaul the healthcare system again anytime soon.
“Obamacare is the law of the land. It will remain the law of the land until it is replaced,” Ryan said. “We will be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
Trump told The Washington Post’s Robert Costa that he did not plan to bring up the AHCA or healthcare again soon.
Ryan also told reporters that the GOP would move onto other issues like tax reform, immigration, and trade.
“Now we are going to move on with the rest of our agenda because we have big, ambitious plans,” Ryan said, adding that the bill’s failure “makes tax reform more difficult” but “not impossible.”