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House GOP abruptly pulls troubled health care bill

8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Friday, March 24 2017 Mar 24, 2017 March 24, 2017 2:44 PM March 24, 2017 in News
Source: Associated Press

UPDATE: 

WASHINGTON - Republican leaders have abruptly pulled their troubled health care overhaul bill off the House floor, short of votes and eager to avoid a humiliating defeat for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., withdrew the legislation after Trump called him and asked him to halt debate without a vote, according to Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong. Just a day earlier, Trump had demanded a House vote and said if the measure lost, he would move on to other issues.

President Donald Trump says he would be willing to reopen negotiations for a health care bill with Democrats if the Affordable Care Act fails.

Trump told reporters Friday that he would be "open to it" if Democrats wanted to work on a bipartisan measure. He predicted the current law would soon collapse.

The president says he has a great relationship with the Republican Party and isn't going to speak badly about GOP lawmakers. Still, he said he was a little surprised by the bill's rejection from the conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus.

Trump also said he "never said repeal and replace it within 64 days," though he repeatedly promised during the campaign to do it on Day One of his term.

Original story:

House Republican leaders were short of the votes needed for their health care overhaul bill hours ahead of a vote demanded by President Donald Trump.

That's the word Friday from GOP lawmakers and congressional aides as Speaker Paul Ryan met with the president at the White House to deliver the sobering news.

Separately, Vice President Mike Pence was meeting near the Capitol with recalcitrant members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus in a last-ditch effort to secure support.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., told reporters, "As of right now, I'm not sure that we are across the finish line. We've still got three or four hours and there's still discussions happening."

The White House is no longer expressing confidence that the upcoming House vote on health care will be successful.

Instead, spokesman Sean Spicer says President Donald Trump is confident that the White House has done "every single thing possible" to corral the 216 votes needed to pass legislation to repeal the Obama-era health care law.

House lawmakers and aides say the bill is short of support before the vote Trump insists be held.

The White House says it expects that vote at 3:30 p.m., as scheduled.

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