Ryan says he’s still ‘proud of the bill we produced’ after health care legislation fails

Ryan says he’s still ‘proud of the bill we produced’ after health care legislation fails
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) holds a news conference Friday following a Republican caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In a big setback to the agenda of President Donald Trump, Ryan cancelled a vote for the American Health Care Act, the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he was still “really proud” of the House GOP’s failed health care legislation just moments after news broke that the lower chamber would not hold a vote on the contentious legislation.

“Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains. We’re feeling those growing pains today,” Ryan said Friday afternoon, addressing reporters. “We came really close today, but we came up short.”

“This is a setback, no two ways about it, but this is not the end of the story,” Ryan said of the failed American Health Care Act — oftentimes referred to as TrumpCare or RyanCare.

Ryan declined to cast blame on any specific lawmaker or caucus but did contend that “there was a bloc of ‘no’ votes” that prevented the legislation from passing.

The powerful House Freedom Caucus remained a thorn in Ryan’s side throughout the push for the American Health Care Act as the coalition of conservative Republicans said that the legislation lacked key provisions important to conservatives, including repealing essential health benefits such as maternity leave and addiction treatment; cutting preventive health measures such as birth control; and repealing the standardized benefit and coverage documents required by Obamacare.

“The conference is let down. The conference is disappointed,” Ryan said, but adding that the votes were “almost there.”

After multiple days of contentious fighting in Congress — even among Republican factions — the bill was ultimately pulled after it became clear it would not get the requisite number of votes needed to pass the House and head to an even more uncertain future in the Senate.

It was a stunning defeat for Trump – who prides himself on his deal-making skills. And Ryan made sure to connect Trump to the failed legislation Friday, thanking the president for his efforts with the bill.

“The president gave his all in this effort,” Ryan told reporters. “He did everything he could to make people see the opportunity we had with this bill.”

As news broke that the health care bill was being pulled, Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted that Trump personally called him. Trump said he “does not blame” Ryan, Costa tweeted.

Trump told reporters earlier Friday that Ryan should remain House Speaker even if the health care bill failed.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney warned Thursday that should the House not pass the Obamacare replacement, Trump will move on from the health care legislation, and Obamacare will remain in place.

Ryan said Friday that Congress would now turn its attention to other issues such as tax reform and border control.

As for health care, Ryan said Americans will be “living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

TheBlaze’s Kate Scanlon contributed to this report. 

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