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Published: Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 11:59 AM
Unable to convince GOP lawmakers to get on board with a plan to overhaul the Obama health law, Republicans in the House decided not to even force a vote on the measure, a major setback for both President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
"This is a setback - no two ways about it," said Speaker Paul Ryan, after he told GOP lawmakers that there were not enough votes.
"I will not sugarcoat this; this is a disappointing day for us," Ryan added. "We came really close today, but we came up short."
Down at the White House, President Trump took aim at Democrats, faulting them for not working with the GOP on a way to overhaul the Obama health law.
"We were very close," Mr. Trump said in the Oval Office. "We had no votes from the Democrats."
"This bill is dead," said Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who played a central role in cobbling together this plan.
The bill never even came to a vote, as it became obvious that Republicans had nowhere near a majority of lawmakers ready to vote for it.
It was a stunning derailment of the Republican plan - central to their campaigns of recent years - to repeal and replace the Obama health law; the GOP plan had been unveiled on March 6 - and just 18 days later it was running aground.
Some Republicans though said the GOP should not give up, arguing it's time to push forward to find a real solution on health care.
"I believe this bill will come back to the floor in a way that bridges philosophical gaps and stays true to the deliberative process so vital in producing good legislation," said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC).
Democrats were more than happy to pile on the GOP legislative debacle.
"This is a win for the American people," said Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME).
"Time for an honest effort to strengthen our health insurance system," said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).
For now, the Obama health law isn't going anywhere.
"We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future," said Speaker Ryan.