Mar 24, 2017
Update: House Republicans pulled their healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), just before the vote was to take place.
Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California described the bill's failure as "a victory for the resistance," while the New York Timeswrites that it's "a humiliating defeat for President Trump on the first legislative showdown of his presidency."
The decision to pull the bill followed a meeting at the White House between House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Trump, in which Ryan told the president that there weren't enough votes for the measure to pass. Ryan said at a press conference Friday that he told the president that the bill should be pulled and that Trump agreed.
As for his party's failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, he said, "Big things are hard to do."
According to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) national political director Faiz Shakir, the outcome showed that "[d]emocracy triumphed."
"The people have spoken and they said 'no' to this dangerous agenda. They said 'no' to blocking access to Planned Parenthood, 'no' to more restrictions on abortion coverage, 'no' to slashing Medicaid and forcing people with disabilities into institutions, and 'no' to gutting essential health benefits like maternity and mental healthcare," Shakir said in a press statement.
"It's clear that millions of Americans have embraced progress and do not want to go back. It's time for Congress and the Trump administration to move on and focus on ideas that actually improve our lives--not those that target vulnerable communities and roll back essential rights for millions of Americans," he continued.
Advocacy groups and Democratic lawmakers celebrated the development on Twitter:
\u201cThe House Republican #TrumpCare health bill. \u2193\u201d— House Democrats (@House Democrats) 1490384422
\u201cThe bill's defeat shows Americans won't accept huge tax breaks for billionaires while 24 million people are kicked off health insurance.\u201d— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders) 1490386043
\u201cFIRST VICTORY TODAY! Your voice was heard to #KillTheBill & save health care for millions of Americans! The fight isn\u2019t over; keep fighting!\u201d— MoveOn (@MoveOn) 1490384938
\u201cJust look at what you've done. You're taking down #TrumpCare and Trump with it.\n\nDon't stop calling now. https://t.co/ToIV8teUJ1\u201d— Indivisible Guide (@Indivisible Guide) 1490384457
\u201cGOP could not agree on how cruel to be to American people and how generous to be to billionaires https://t.co/8NPW2S1Nrk #twill\u201d— Luis V. Guti\u00e9rrez (@Luis V. Guti\u00e9rrez) 1490385560
Still, Democrats shouldn't be too quick to pull out the champagne, says the National Nurses United (NNU).
"Instead of enacting a genuine transformation of our flawed healthcare system when Democrats had the White House and bigger majorities in Congress than the Republicans have now, they failed to enact a national system, like an improved Medicare-for-all, that would guarantee healthcare for all Americans, with real patient choice, and effective cost controls," said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro
"Why the Ryan bill ultimately failed is its premise that throwing more people to the wolves of the healthcare market would undeniably exacerbate the crisis for the people left behind by the gaps in the ACA. And they had to confront a massive rebellion by people in every corner, in every Congressional district across the nation," she continued.
"What policy makers should do now is learn the lesson that most of the rest of the world has discovered, implement a system based on care, not profits, not corporate insurance. As the town halls and massive protests have made clear, the people are ready for real reform and a change in national priorities that puts our health first, not last," DeMoro concluded.
Earlier: As resistance efforts urge constituents to call their representatives to #killthebill, the death of the Republicans' American Health Care Act (AHCA) appears early Friday afternoon to be near certain.
Just before 2:00pm, White House press secretary Sean Spicer would not discuss the administration's strategy if Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (Wis.) confirms to President Donald Trump that Republicans do not have the votes to pass the measure.
"I'm not going to comment," Spicer said. "I think the speaker and the president are going to have a discussion about where those votes are and what some of the members' needs are and we'll take it from there."
Just ahead of that press briefing, Ryan visited the White House, where he reportedly told Trump that it didn't have enough Republican support to pass.
That's despite the White House on Thursday having sent out budget director Mick Mulvaney to tell Republicans that if they don't support the AHCA, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known Obamacare, will remain the "law of the land."
The New York Timeswrites that Trump and Ryan
faced the humiliating prospect of a major defeat on legislation promised for seven years, since the landmark health legislation was signed into law. President Trump had demanded a vote regardless, which has been scheduled for Friday afternoon. But House leaders were leaning against such a public loss.
The House had been scheduled to vote Thursday on the measure, but having been "met with a deluge of outrage and calls," as Common Dreamswrote, it was pushed to Friday. It is set to take place at 3:30pm.
The Huffington Postnotes: "The GOP bill has been changed so much that the usual Congressional Budget Office analysis, which would assess the final measure's impact, does not yet exist." The most recent scoring from the CBO, however, shows it would still threaten coverage for 24 million people by 2026, and a new Quinnipiac University released Thursday found that only 17 percent of voters currently approve of the GOP bill.
And, as Common Dreams noted, "In a last-minute gift to the ultraconservative House Freedom caucus, Ryan and Trump stripped (pdf) the AHCA of the 'essential health benefits' central to Obamacare, which mandates that insurance plans include coverage for basic care, such as maternity and wellness visits."
The Indivisible Guide and others say those opposed to the bill should pick up their phones to press their members of Congress to vote 'no.'
\u201cThe GOP health care plan is a massive tax cut for the wealthy & insurance companies at the expense of millions of Americans. #KillTheBill\u201d— Kamala Harris (@Kamala Harris) 1490379060
\u201cIf you haven\u2019t already, call your representatives now and tell them to vote NO on the GOP health care plan: (202) 224-3121. #KillTheBill\u201d— Kamala Harris (@Kamala Harris) 1490371620
\u201cMy #FridayFeeling is to #KillTheBill. 13,000 calls and counting. CALL NOW: 855-981-7297\u201d— MoveOn (@MoveOn) 1490377155
\u201cNot sure how?\n\nGo here. Call your MoC. Help stop TrumpCare.\nhttps://t.co/fW8Cy1kZDc\u201d— Indivisible Guide (@Indivisible Guide) 1490360071
\u201cFolks, at 3:30 pm the House will vote on TrumpCare.\n\nKeep calling. We can win this. https://t.co/bEgN7M44e4\u201d— Indivisible Guide (@Indivisible Guide) 1490380799
"What's happening today is a lose-lose situation for the Republicans," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. "It's a lose-lose for the American people, that's for sure. But the people who vote for this will have this vote tattooed to their foreheads as they go forward."
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