U.S. House Republicans launched a final push late Thursday to help President Donald Trump achieve a major legislative victory. But after an 11-hour effort, they still fell short of securing enough votes for a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare.
The House will not have a vote on the health care bill this week, the Republicans decided. Instead, they will push through a short-term spending bill on Friday to keep the federal government open for another week.
"As soon as we have the votes, we'll vote on it," Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said to reporters.
Trump and his allies had promised during his presidential campaign that he will repeal Obamacare in his first 100 days. As Saturday marked his official 100th day in office, Trump may have missed the deadline. It was a disappointment for the administration as Trump and the White House had pressed House Republican leaders for weeks.
The bill, titled American Health Care Act, was first tested in the House last month. It failed after a rebellion from Republican moderates, as well as the more conservative House Freedom Caucus.
On Wednesday, the Freedom Caucus announced that it will support a revised health care plan after an amendment drafted by Republican Representative Tom MacArther from New Jersey is included.
Trump's First 100 Days
The amendment would allow states to seek waivers from some provisions of the Obamacare, such as mandating insurers charge healthy and ill customers the same rates, and that insurers cover essential health benefits like hospitalization and substance abuse treatment.
“While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower health care costs,” the release said. “We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to improve the bill. Our work will continue until we fully repeal Obamacare."
Their endorsement brought back hope for the Republicans to get the 216 House votes needed to pass the bill. As the Democrats are united in voting against the bill, the Republicans can only afford to lose only 22 of their members. However, the latest proposal didn't convince more moderate Republicans in the House.
"Protections for those with pre-existing conditions without contingency, and affordable access to coverage for every American, remain my priorities for advancing healthcare reform, and this bill does not satisfy those benchmarks for me," Representative Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania said in a statement.
Democrats argued that the latest proposal will do nothing to help those who would be left without health coverage if the current bill was repealed.
“The monstrous immorality of Trumpcare is perfectly encapsulated in House Republicans’ plan to exempt their own health coverage from the damage it will do to everyone else,” Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, said.
Twenty-four million people would lose health insurance coverage by 2026 under Republican's bill, the Congressional Budget Office previously estimated.
But the bill's future is further clouded in the Senate, where the Senate Republicans are more moderate than their House counterparts.