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House delays vote on Obamacare replacement bill as GOP struggles to get votes
House leadership delayed the vote on the American Health Care Act, the Republicans’ plan to replace Obamacare, after failing to rally enough votes to ensure its passage. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

House delays vote on Obamacare replacement bill as GOP struggles to get votes

The House is postponing its vote on the American Health Care Act — the Republicans’ plan to replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act — after failing to secure enough votes, despite last-minute efforts by the White House to get the conservative wing of the GOP on board.

Instead, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), along with GOP leadership, is hoping to vote Friday morning on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, CNN reported.

In recent days, Ryan and President Donald Trump have been lobbying members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans in an effort to rally the 216 votes the AHCA needs to pass.

Thursday’s deadline, the seven-year anniversary of former President Barack Obama’s signing of Obamacare into law, was an arbitrary deadline date set by GOP leadership.

Despite Ryan’s and Trump’s inability to rally enough “yes” votes Thursday evening, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) seemed optimistic. He said Trump “wants to get things done” and added that the Freedom Caucus is “committed” to working with him.

“We have not gotten enough of our members to get to ‘yes’ at this point under what we’re currently considering,” Meadows told reporters Thursday. “However, I would say progress is being made, and that progress that’s being made is really — should be applauded with the efforts of the White House to try ... to deliver lower premiums for every American from coast to coast and in between.”

Meadows called Trump’s engagement in the negotiations perhaps “unparalleled in the history of our country.”

The House Republican Conference will meet this evening to discuss how to proceed, according to Politico.

The failure of both the Trump administration and the Freedom Caucus, whose members want a clean, unfettered repeal of Obamacare, to reach a deal Thursday afternoon comes after White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during his daily briefing that “nothing leads me to believe” the vote on the AHCA would be delayed.

[graphiq id="7E3XbZjPM8Z" title="Projected Change in US Federal Budget Deficit Under American Health Care Act" width="600" height="566" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/7E3XbZjPM8Z" ]

“We walked out with more members in support of the American Health Care Act today than we started the day with,” Spicer said of Trump’s meeting this week with Freedom Caucus members. “And I continue to see that number climb hour by hour. And I anticipate that we will get there.”

Moving forward, many Republicans who just want to see the AHCA passed are growing increasingly impatient with the Freedom Caucus, as they keep needling Trump to make the health care proposal more conservative.

“The president is good at negotiating, but he has to have someone who wants to get to ‘yes,’” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), a Trump backer, told Politico. “I was never able to sell a car or a truck to someone who didn’t want a car or a truck — it just doesn’t work, and that’s where we are right now. I don’t think they’re really interested in getting to an ‘end.’ ”

“Maybe the ‘end’ is: making sure it doesn’t pass,” he added.

Just days before being sworn in as president, Trump vowed to provide “insurance for everybody” in the Republican replacement plan, which he said must come “very quickly or simultaneously” after Obamacare is repealed.

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