- President pulls healthcare bill before vote
- Paul Ryan told him it would not pass House
- Trump had issued ultimatum to Congress
- Trump finding out that winning as president does not come easy
- Democrats can't disguise their glee at failed healthcare bill
- Five ways Trump's healthcare plan is different from Obamacare
President Donald Trump has suffered a bitter defeat as one of his cornerstone campaign pledges, to repeal and replace Obamacare, failed to pass in Congress.
Mr Trump instructed that a vote on the "Trumpcare" bill be "pulled" moments before it was due to take place, as support among Republican congressmen evaporated.
It was a huge setback for the president and instilled doubts about his ability to enact his wider agenda, not only on healthcare but other major promises like tax reform and infrastructure investment.
Speaking in the Oval Office Mr Trump squarely blamed Democrats for unanimously opposing the bill, and said Obamacare would soon "explode".
He said: "Now the Democrats own Obamacare 100 per cent. They own it. It's exploding now and it's going to be a very bad year. There are going to be explosive premium increases."
Mr Trump said when the Obamacare system did collapse he fully expected Democrats to come to him seeking a bilateral deal, to which he would be "totally open".
He added: "We were very close. We learned a lot about loyalty. We learned a lot about arcane rules in the house. For me it's been a very interesting experience. Paul Ryan worked very, very hard but a had a lot of factions."
Mr Trump said "politically" the failure of the bill was good for Republicans because Demcorats would be blamed for what he called the impedning collapse of Oabamcare. He said: "I've said for a long time, politically, the best thing we could do is let Obamacare explode, and it's exploding right now." Mr Trump added: "Now, we'll go very strongly for tax reform and big tax cuts, that will be up next."
In a high stakes gamble Mr Trump, confident in his ability to make deals, had issued a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum to rebel Republicans, indicating that if the measure failed he would leave Obamacare in place and move on to other priorities.
But the strategy backfired as the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republican congressmen, held out despite last minute concessions by Mr Trump.
Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told the president there was "no deal".
Mr Trump told a Washington Post reporter efforts on the healthcare bill would be "over for now" but he would come back to healthcare "some time this year."
Sean Spicer, Mr Trump's spokesman said: "You can't force people to vote. At the end of the day this isn't a dictatorship. The president left it all on the field. He has given it his all. It shocked a lot of people how personal it was for him. He worked 6am to 11pm.
"Did he pull out all the stops? Did he call every member of Congress? Yes. At some point you can only do so much."
Mr Trump was said to have been "agitated" by the reluctance of Freedom Caucus members to vote for the American Health Care Act, known as "Trumpcare".
They did not believe it went far enough in dismantling Obamacare and were concerned it would actually raise the cost of insurance premiums for their constituents.
Democrats were universally against the bill calling it "pure greed that will see real people suffer and die".
Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives but they "could afford to lose less than two dozen votes from their own side".
Shortly before the vote Paul Ryan, the Republican House Speaker who championed the bill in Congress, went to the White House to tell Mr Trump it did not have enough support.
Hillary Clinton wades in
Mr Trump's former rival has sent a string of tweets following the failure of the healthcare bill:
Today was a victory for all Americans. pic.twitter.com/LX6lzQXtBR— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2017
But this fight isn't over yet and we can't forget who it's about. Here are some stories...— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2017
Natarsha, whose breast cancer was caught early because of a screening at Planned Parenthood, which Republicans would defund. pic.twitter.com/oTXMjrw8Tv— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2017
Luisa, who suffered from bone cancer and needed care ASAP - but the hospital wouldn't admit her without proof of insurance.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2017
Keith, who brings his mother with Alzheimer's to work with him because he can’t afford care for her during the day. pic.twitter.com/HD9GyX9E9D— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2017
Let’s not be distracted. Let’s continue to stand up, organize, resist, put forth good ideas to improve the existing system & peoples' lives.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2017
Donald Trump finding out that winning as president does not come easy
Rob Crilly writes:
“We’re going to win. We’re going to win so much. We’re going to win at trade, we’re going to win at the border. We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go, ‘Please, please, we can’t win any more.’”
So said Candidate Trump on the campaign trail last year.
President Trump is finding things a bit more difficult.
In his first 100 days has lost to the judges, who have thrown out his travel ban, and he is in danger of losing key figures to the FBI, which is sifting through his administration for ties to Russia.
He has lost his national security adviser and he is losing public opinion.
Although he may not have lost a vote over his plan to repeal Obamacare, it sure as hell looks like a defeat when your team has to pull the bill because you know you have not managed to whip the numbers.
It is all very well aiming to hit the ground running but you have to concentrate on getting your feet down first. Mr Trump seems to have gone at it face first.
Next up: tax reform
House of Representative Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady has said that following the withdrawal of a healthcare law the Republican agenda would be to move quickly to craft a tax reform bill.
"(House) Speaker (Paul) Ryan and I made it clear we are going to take committee action this spring. We're going to move the tax reform bill forward. We still have an August timetable going forward. But our whole goal I think in Congress ... delivering this pro-growth tax reform, with the president, this year, that is our top priority," Brady told Fox News.
Trump: 'Obamacare will explode'
In the president's first remarks, he has said he predicts that Obamacare "will explode".
"We were very close, we had no Democrat support... The best thing we can do politically speaking is to let Obamacare explode," he said.
"I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because they now own Obamacare."
Trump: 'In a way I'm glad I got it out of the way'
Does Trump regret starting his agenda with health care? “No, I don’t,” he told me. "But in a way I’m glad I got it out of the way.”— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 24, 2017
'Today is a great day for our country'
Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader has said the defeat of Mr Trump's healthcare bill was "a victory for the American people".
Paul Ryan: 'Doing big things is hard'
The House speaker said that there were inevitable "growing pains" when moving from opposition to government - "and we're feeling those growing pains today".
We came really close today but we came up short. I will not shirk this. This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard. We will need time to to reflect.
The president gave his all in this effort. He's really been fantastic. Still, we've got to do better and we will. This is a setback, no two ways about it. We are motivated to step up our game and deliver on our promises.
Ultimately, this comes down to a choice. Are all of us willing to give a little to get something done. Are we able to accept something good rather than perfect.
We were close but not quite there. Now we are going to move on with the rest of our agenda.
Yes, this does make tax reform more difficult but it does not in any way make it impossible. We have more agreement on the need for tax reform.
There is a block of no votes that we had... That is why this didn't pass.
Obamacare is the law of the land and will continue to be the law of the land. We will be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.
Trump 'willing to cut a bipartisan deal in the future'
Mr Trump indicated he may, at some point in the future, be able to reach agreement with Democrats instead of the conservative wing of his own party. He told the Washington Post: "When it (Obamacare) explodes they (Democrats) come to us and we make one beautiful deal."
Trump told me he's willing to cut a bipartisan deal in the future: "When it explodes they [Dems] come to us and we make one beautiful deal.”— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 24, 2017
More gleeful Democrats
'This bill is done'
Greg Walden, the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, says healthcare bill will not come up at a later date.
Senator Bob Menendez trolls Republicans
Hey Republicans, don't worry, that burn is covered under the Affordable Care Act— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) March 24, 2017
Trump 'to come back to healthcare some time this year'
Robert Costa has said Mr Trump told him he would "come back to healthcare some time this year".
He apparently said that efforts on his healthcare bill was "over for now".
'We cannot abandon our values'
Strong speech a bit earlier from John Lewis, the Democratic congressman from Georgia:
Watch this— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 24, 2017
John Lewis is shouting on the House floor: I'll “fight every day…I oppose this bill with every breath and every bone in my body” pic.twitter.com/RMwKs5JbJ7
Trump: 'We just pulled it'
Mr Trump called the Washington Post to confirm he had pulled the bill.
Paul Ryan is to hold a news conference at 4pm ET (8pm GMT).
I'll give an update on health care reform at 4pm → ET. https://t.co/DLsJK9h6yr— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 24, 2017
Reports that Trump has pulled the bill
Washington Post's Robert Costa tweets:
President Trump just called me. Still on phone.— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 24, 2017
"We just pulled it," he tells me.
"I don't blame Paul," Trump tells me— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 24, 2017
'Republicans realise repealing Obamacare could be impractical and wildly unpopular'
Ruth Sherlock writes:
Though Republicans have demonised Obamacare for years, there is in Congress a grudging recognition that repealing it could be impractical and wildly unpopular.
A study by the Pew research group has found that only 21 percent of Republican voters favor cuts in Medicare, socialised health care, and only 17 percent want to see spending on Social Security reduced.
The Affordable Care Act, the president’s signature policy has brought health insurance to some 12.7 million people who would have struggled to afford medical cover. But it has also pushed up insurance premiums for Americans not on government assistance.
As a Mr Trump's replacement bill is coming under fire from both sides. Hard-liners, such as the Freedom Caucus, are angry the changes don't go far enough in repealing Obama's policies. Whilst moderate Republicans fear this bill cuts health care coverage too much.
Newt Gingrich's tweets show how Republican thinking has evolved today
No one should be confused.Obamacare repeal if it passes will be Trump's triumph.He personally intervened to save bill when it faced defeat— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 24, 2017
Why would you schedule a vote on a bill that is at 17% approval? Have we forgotten everything Reagan taught us?— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 24, 2017
Five ways Donald Trump's healthcare plan is different from Obamacare
- Tax credits to help buy insurance
- No more limits on healthcare savings
- No more fines for the uninsured
- Insurance companies now set their own prices
- Cuts to women's healthcare
Nearly half of Americans say Republican healthcare reform 'not an improvement'
Nearly half of American adults said the Republican healthcare reform measure is "not an improvement" over Obamacare, according to a new poll.
According to the March 13-23 poll, 49 percent of American adults said the AHCA was "not an improvement" over Obamacare, which helped about 20 million people get insurance coverage. Another 33 percent said the Republican bill was "an improvement" over Obamacare, and the remaining 18 percent did not know.
The responses were largely split along party lines. Some 19 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans said the AHCA was better than Obamacare, while 73 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Republicans said it was not an improvement.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states. It first asked if people were familiar with the Republican reform. Those who said they were familiar were then asked whether they thought it was an improvement.
Trump 'agitated' over Republican mutiny
Mr Trump was said to be "agitated" by the reluctance of conservative Republican congressmen to vote for the American Health Care Act because they do not believe it goes far enough in dismantling Obamacare.
Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives but they can only afford to lose 21 votes from their own side. Democrats will all vote against the bill.
However, with only hours to go before an expected vote at least 35 Republicans still planned to vote against, despite last minute concessions from Mr Trump and his allies.
Defeat would be a huge setback to for the president who wrote the "Art of the Deal" and was elected in part on the promise of his negotiating skills.
Failure on this landmark proposal would install doubts about his ability to carry his own party on other major platforms of his campaign,like tax reform and infrastructure investment. Global financial markets were monitoring the vote closely.
The promise to repeal Obamacare was key to Republicans keeping control of Congress, and to winning the White House, in November's election.
The bill has been held up by members of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of Republican politicians. Congressman Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said there was "No deal" with the Republican leadership.
On Friday morning Mr Trump taunted the group for their opposition to the bill, accusing them of being insufficiently against abortion.
“The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!” he tweeted, referring to the women's healthcare clinics that would have their funding cut under his healthcare proposal.
Paul Ryan leaves the White House after delivering the bad news to Donald Trump