In Stinging Defeat, House Republicans Abandon Obamacare Repeal Effort

Tyler Durden's picture

To summarize Friday's Congressional rollercoaster, the pundits and the White House were wrong, and the online betting markets were right.

Following a day of drama in Congress yesterday, Friday was another nail-biter until the last moment, and after Trump's Thursday ultimatum failed to yield more "yes" votes, the embattled bill seeking to replace major parts of Obamacare was yanked Friday from the floor of the House.

As a result, Trump suffered a second consecutive blow as opposition from within his own party forced Republican leaders to cancel a vote on healthcare reform for the second time, casting doubt on the president’s ability to deliver on other priorities.

The withdrawal pointed to Trump's failure to charm republicans in the last minute, raising questions about whether he could unify Republicans behind his pro-growth legislative goals of tax reform and infrastructure spending.

NBC News reported that the President Donald Trump asked House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., to pull the bill. A source told NBC that Ryan during visit to Trump at the White House earlier Friday afternoon had "pleaded to pull" the bill after telling the president that the GOP leaders had failed to convince enough House Republicans to support the bill.

Trump personally told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa about the move to avoid an embarrassing loss in the House during a phone call, Costa tweeted. "We just pulled it," Trump reportedly said to Costa.

A large number of GOP House members had declared their opposition to the bill since Thursday night. It was the second time in less than 30 hours that Republicans postponed a scheduled House vote on the American Health Care Act. Republicans could afford to lose at most 22 members of their caucus in the vote. But as of Friday afternoon, there were 34 GOP House member publicly opposing the bill.

Ryan visited Donald Trump at the White House at around 1 p.m. to inform him of the shortfall in support.

The second delay was another humiliating setback for GOP leaders and Trump, who had thrown his weight behind the bill.

Trump on Thursday night demanded that the House vote on the plan on Friday, and said he would not agree to change the bill further than he already had in an effort to persuade wavering Republicans to back it.

Shortly after the president drew that line in the sand, GOP leaders amended the bill further to allow states, as opposed to the federal government, to mandate what essential health benefits have to be part of all insurance plans.

But as was the case on Thursday, GOP leaders knew Friday that if the vote occurred as scheduled, the bill would be defeated. The problem those leaders face is not from Democrats, who hold a minority of 193 seats in the House, and who were all expected to vote against the bill.

Ultimately, and this may be the real take home message, the Freedom Caucus demonstrated it is more powerful than Trump as of this moment. Which, incidentally, means it is time to start getting very nervous about the upcoming debt ceiling negotiation, in which the Freedom Caucus will likely get its way.

Finally, with over half a trillion in budget cuts now out of the picture, Trump may be able to proceed to his tax reform, but he will have about $500 billion in potential tax cuts to work with now that repeal of Obamacare is indefinitely delayed.

As for the humiliated Paul Ryan, he just wants to move on... for obvious reasons.



* * *

Update 7:  Finally, Trump capped off the failed process with the following comments to the press saying, among other things, that the best thing Republcans can do now is simply pursue tax reform while Obamacare implodes naturally.



* * *

Update 6: Trump bluffed... and failed, and moments ago House Republicans unable to find enough votes in support of the bill, have pulled today's vote:



* * *

Update 5: With the health bill vote set to take place around 4pm, moments ago NBC reported that ahead of the vote the Republican conference will hold a closed-door meeting, perhaps to try and cobble together a last minute deal even as most whip count show at least 30 republicans voting against the deal.


* * *

Update 4:  After a series of conflicting headlines earlier, CNN is now reporting that Paul Ryan has made the trip to the White House to inform Trump: "We don't have the votes."

* * *

Update 3:  Moments ago new headlines surfaced that Paul Ryan was headed to the White House to brief President Trump on where the Healthcare legislation currently stands.  And, in an exact repeat of the mass confusion that dominated the press yesterday, headlines continue to be completely contradictory and only serve to further the chaos. 

On the one side, Bloomberg is reporting that GOP leaders are not confident they have the votes with one House aide even admitted that Republican discussions have morphed from trying to whip votes to trying to figure out what to do after the bill fails.



And Rep. Gohmert tweeted there's a "good chance vote may be postponed."


That said, Reuters subsequently released a statement from Rep. Mullin
saying that things are looking up for the late afternoon healthcare


Meanwhile, The Hill's latest whip list suggests that the number of Republican 'no' votes is actually growing rather than shrinking and currently stands at 34.

In reality, despite all the jawboning, we suspect that no one will really know how this thing is going play out until the votes are counted later today.

* * *

Update 2:  The House has just passed a procedural vote by a margin of 230 - 194 which now clears the path for 4 hours of floor debate on the healthcare bill which will be followed by a vote later this afternoon on the legislation.  Update per The Hill:

Six Republicans voted against the rule, an unusually high number. Lawmakers typically do not break ranks on procedural votes, which are viewed as a referendum on how leadership is managing the floor.


Among the Republicans who voted against the rule were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Walter Jones (N.C.). All three voted Thursday night against invoking what is known as "martial law" rule to speed the legislation to the floor.


Lawmakers typically stick with their party on the rules votes even if they plan to vote against the underlying legislation.


The rule stipulates that floor debate on the healthcare legislation will last four hours, with time equally divided between Republicans and Democrats.


That sets up a likely vote around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.


Meanwhile, The Hill’s latest whip list still shows around 30 Republicans planning to vote against the bill which is more than the maximum of 22 defections GOP leaders can afford and have the bill still pass. 

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn't share this apparent nervous break down from Rosa DeLauro during the procedural debate:

* * *

Update 1:  As largely expected, the House Rules Committee has just signed off on the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal plan, with a 9-3 vote, which clears the path for a showdown vote later today.  The panel was the bill’s final stop before heading for a floor vote.

As of now, the plan is to begin debate on the healthcare bill at 10AM EST.  There is expected to be a 1 hour debate on rules and then 4 hours of general debate which sets the House up for a procedural vote around 11:15 am EST and a final vote expected around 4.45 pm.

* * *

Yesterday was undoubtedly a debacle of a day for Republicans which ultimately culminated with the failure of the Trump administration and Paul Ryan to secure a sufficient number of votes from the House Freedom Caucus to pass their healthcare bill (we covered the chaos here).  And after the day of misery, team Trump decided that they would rather not continue the political charade in perpetuity and instead decided to offer conservatives in the House an ultimatum: vote tomorrow (i.e. today) or "I'm done with healthcare."

Which, of course, would seem to be a negotiating tactic taken directly for The Art of the Deal 101:


Meanwhile, the Associated Press seemed to sum up the gravity of today's vote the best, referring to it simply as a "gamble with monumental political stakes."

"In a gamble with monumental political stakes, Republicans set course for a climactic House vote on their health care overhaul after President Donald Trump claimed he was finished negotiating with GOP holdouts and determined to pursue the rest of his agenda, win or lose."

With all that said, per Fox News, after a few procedural moves, the House will likely vote on Trumpcare sometime in the mid-to-late afternoon with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) predicting that the vote will wrap up by 4:30 or 5 p.m. ET. 

As we pointed out yesterday, the TrumpCare vote is the first high-stakes political battle of Trump's Presidency and pits Trump against the more conservative elements of the Republican Party.  For Trump, failure to pass healthcare reform would be a major blow as it was a signature component of his campaign and could signal that he will face an uphill battle against the Freedom Caucus to implement other policy initiatives.  For conservatives, they must choose between supporting their party and a bill that has been dubbed "Obamacare-lite" at the risk of alienating powerful conservative funders, like the Koch Brothers and their various Super PACs, which got them elected in the first place. 

Meanwhile, "round-the-clock" negotiations continue as the White House and mainstream Republicans attempt to sway some last minute votes.

Meanwhile, Trump met inside the Cabinet room with the Freedom caucus to try and rally conservatives to the cause. He also tweeted, urging supporters to call their representatives to back the bill.


A senior administration official told Fox News after the meeting with Trump and the conservative group that there was a deal in the works, but that it was not yet finalized. A source from the Freedom Caucus later said there wasn't yet a deal.


"I would say progress is being made, and that progress should be applauded with the efforts by the White House to deliver on a campaign promise, and to lower premiums for every American from coast to coast and in between," Meadows said. He also called Trump's involvement "unparalleled in the history of our country."

And while it's almost impossible to predict how today's vote will turn out, Goldman Sachs is pegging the chances of success at 60%.

The House vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) has been delayed due to a lack of support. Our subjective odds of passage in the House before the upcoming two-week congressional recess, which begins April 7, are 60%. This is slightly lower than our last estimate, in part because there appears to be somewhat greater-than-expected opposition among centrist Republicans, in addition to the well-known opposition among members of the conservative "Freedom Caucus"

Meanwhile, Trump started his lobbying efforts early on twitter. 


So, grab your popcorn and flip on C-SPAN...should be a fun Friday.

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FrozenGoodz's picture

DOA .. don't get excited about taxes either

NidStyles's picture

If I can't opt out, I am not interested.

Joe Sichs Pach's picture

Fuckit, just repeal Obamacare then.

What's going to happen?
Is every insurer going to immediately stop doing business and cancel all policies?


froze25's picture

I love how they are trying to paint this as a "Trump failure" if it doesn't pass. 1st off, the president doesn't introduce legislation. 2nd, the president doesn't vote on legislation, 3rd getting people to vote with the party is Ryan and the house whip's responsibility. 4th all the president does is sign or veto the bill. 5th being a moderator and facilitating meetings for discussion isn't his job either but that is what he did yesterday to attempt to move this along. 6th the bill failing helps the Freedom Caucus and Trump because on its own the ACA will die.

post turtle saver's picture

we're done here, froze25 nailed it... for the good of all this bill needs to fail... if nothing else, it proves once and for all that Paul Ryan is not leader material (but, we knew that)...

Pure Evil's picture

Who wants to bet this thing passes with help of just enough Democrats?

What's not to love for a Democrat?

Continues subsidies for the insurance mafia and the working poor while expanding Medicaid.

Continues penalties for those that don't sign up.

Continues increased premiums and deductibles that do sign up.

This isn't Obamacare Lite, it's still Obamacare wrapped inside a polished turd.

Ghost of PartysOver's picture

If this bill passes then Trump just got his ass kicked by the Deep State/Swamp.  How is that winning?

Pure Evil's picture

If you think things are bad now just wait until it hits the Senate.

They'll tack on their own admendments, they're even more in the pockets of the insurance mafia, making it even worse than it is, probably folding back in the individual/small buisness mandate with increased penalties for not signing up.



BuckWild's picture

After the senate gets it, will be worse than the first OBUMMERCARE!

BullyBearish's picture

hey's that winning, winning, winning thingy going?  If this POS trumpcare goes down, the PEOPLE have won!

TheMeatTrapper's picture

Trump can now stand back and say Ryan sucks, Obamacare sucks and I told you so. The people get hit square between the eyes with a full load of Obamacare which the Democrats own.

Trump is the only winner. And it is people like you that handed him this win. Thank you for making Trump come out on top. We need more people like you. :)

new game's picture

biggest loosers are almost everyone, except the opt outers that paygo and take care of themselves...

nothing will change. is involved and now healthcare if fuked forever and i don't say forever lightly...

FireBrander's picture

"“The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it.” - The Art of the Deal" 

Well then Donald, is this the "worst" possible deal? I sure sense, smell, SEE a LOT OF FUCKING DESPERATION in ALL the RINO's....and you too Donald!

Why the fuck are you backing this bill that is DESPERATELY SEEKING THE VOTES TO PASS?

C'mon Trump...declare Ryan has failed, promise to LEAD THE TEAM that writes A REAL SOLUTION to the Problem.

PS> Put Bannon on the job, he appears to have his head in reality and his ear to the ground...

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) FireBrander Mar 24, 2017 2:41 PM

"Pull it" ~ Oh Wait!

bamawatson's picture

pull this

start at 220

((thigh shot at 206 is awesome))

techies-r-us's picture
techies-r-us (not verified) bamawatson Mar 24, 2017 8:48 PM

A true leader would have gathered the votes. TRUMP is NO LEADER. He's a dictatorial disaster.

Mano-A-Mano's picture
Mano-A-Mano (not verified) techies-r-us Mar 24, 2017 8:49 PM

Got to agree with you there.

shamus001's picture

Maybe I'm wrong?  But as I understood it, the congress chooses it's OWN leaders?  POTUS does not.

Déjà view's picture

The More Things Change...The More They Remain The Same...

J Jason Djfmam's picture

The Republicans helthcare bill collapsed freefall into its own foundation.

Officials were heard to say "Pull it!"

European news sources had reported this an hour before it happened.

knukles's picture

Anybody but me notice the original screen shot showed the House which ABC news labelled as "Senate"
Nice.  Talk about fake facts.
House, Senate, whatever

Tell ya, this is startin' to look like the Deep State's a bigger win with Trump that with Hillary.  God help us all, Timmah.

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) knukles Mar 24, 2017 3:09 PM

To-GA...To-GA... To-GA!!

Sebastion's picture

If you haven't burned your copy of 'The Art of the Deal' yet - you could use the pages to wipe your asses

yogibear's picture

The left and deep state are working together to burn Trump by tying his hands. This continues for months. Essentially nullifying Trump.

ebworthen's picture

Who blocked the bill?  Rhino's and ultra-conservative's.

Who will be blamed when people get their Obummercare bill's next year?  See above.

TuesdayBen's picture

"Who will be blamed when people get their Obummercare bill's next year?"

That's an easy one - the people who brought us Obamacare, Obama and the Dems - will be blamed

Reality Creator's picture

The Republicans are a bunch of moral relativists, except of course the folks in the Freedom Caucus who stand their ground and wouldn't give in to the arm twisting, the bribes, the threats and other unseemly acts to force a vote.

The Republicans said that they could do this, and they failed. BAM!

Now, they're moving onto an even harder, more contentious effort, tax reform that is also sure to fail. BAM!

Republicans are going to get smeared in the midterm elections -- everyone I hear bring up politics says that Republicans were good as an opposition party, and so that's where the voters intend to send them back to.

FireBrander's picture

"Stunning Defeat"?


WhoTheFuck wanted this thing to pass?

Literally, I think the only people sad it didn't pass are the Republicans that wanted to vote for it...I don't KNOW A SINGLE PERSON upset that THIS bill didn't's just the opposite...NO ONE was wishing for ObamaCare -2.0

This makes Trump look foolish, but it's not a "defeat" was a fools errand on the behalf of the "Health Lobby".

sarz's picture

The majority of Americans want single-payer. And it makes tremendous moral and economic sense. Trump now speaks of working with the Democrats. He should work with Bernie Sanders on this and redefine the whole political landscape. I suspect it's something he's had in mind for some time. 

BetterRalph's picture

man wait until you had a heart attack like me. I got to tell you man, what I wanted was for there to be a PRICE. I want to know it's going to cost me $12000 not $120000 that's first. Where does that extra $100,000 come from between two patients? lawlessness that's where.

Second part to this horror show is teaching Nutrition and killing off the propaganda FOOD PYRAMID and bad advice.
ONGOING FRAUD you can reverse diabetes.

Third get smokers vaping instead of combusting.
I see bunch of anti-vape propaganda

Fourth Cannabis to replace MANY pain killers and other things. Or shoot up your heroin -- what do I care if you wreck your liver on pain meds like IBUPROFIN either? Asprin, why not thin your blood for no reason except your too lazy to stop shoveling the sugar in.

I know I am probably missing something like TEETH to eat raw beets, carrots and apples with. But that won't matter until your in you nineties and then it will hit you so fast your dentist won't have time to fix your rotten jaw inflammation an all that you will suck your food in a straw your last days by an impersonal heal care provider cause you got no teeth--probably die earlier too. just saying-- I seen this up close could be avoided with GOOD TEETH in OLD AGE.

That would be my health care plan. Get the Sugar and BAD Salt and Wheat out of the Arteries before more inflammation and blockages. From teeth to hearts it's bad.

Forget Bernie Sanders. Forget Democrats. they are LOST not to mention LAWLESS. I don't CARE what lawless people want.

This health Insurance thing is fixable overnight, already under existing laws. It's called nullifying it. They don't want to fix it.

MalteseFalcon's picture

As I've mentioned before, Obamacare was just warmed over Romney-care.

So now the owners of the establishment Republicans want Trump-care.

The only way for this situation to work out is for the vote to fail and Ryan's getting removed.

Anything else isn't winning.

There are any number of better plans for the country as a whole, but the owners of the country, the real owners, want this plan.

Unless this ends in the end of Ryan's speaker-ship, 2018 and 2020 look like a debacles.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

NOT winning.

Not Goldman Sachs's picture

Sorry, orange Julius is weak, incompetent, and has no clue what is in the bill. He has his lackeys do all the work.

"whether he could unify Republicans behind his pro-growth legislative goals of tax reform and infrastructure spending." Yep. Spend, spend spend, and this time zhers are all behind it. Denial, justification, rationalization.... Pathetic.

greenskeeper carl's picture

I agree with you about the 'pro growth infrastructure spending' 100%. I didn't vote for him because I like that, I voted for him because I don't want to go to war with the Russians over Syria. That's pretty much the majority of it. A lot of it I kinda expect, like all the spending. We will see what happens. I don't think he is weak or incompetent though, but I do think he massively underestimated the amount of trouble he was going to run into trying to get anything done.

FireBrander's picture

I voted for Trump because the other choice was Hillary...

Had they put up Bernie, probably would have still went Trump.

Had they put up Tulsi Gabbard...well, we'd have a Dem in the White House today.

BetterRalph's picture

when you say orange julius you expose yourself as one of the RETARDED MISGUIDED wiccans that did the binding ritual.

Nothing will get unified with DEMOCRAT TREASON as it EXISTS NOW.

DaddyO's picture

Totally in agreement. Trump went up and did a yeaoman's job of trying to get consensus. Ryan comes out of this looking more and more like the dweeb we all know he is from past expeience.

I still remain out on Trump overall, but he handled this like a true pro...


floridasandy's picture

you would be completely clueless if you thought that Obamacare is the answer.

I hope you aren't saying that.

BullyBearish's picture

Not saying that...dismayed that after 7 years of Obummercare this is the best that they can come up with to try to SHOVE down everybodie's and I know when they try to SHOVE anyting down your throat it's not good...

Arrow4Truth's picture

Don't be dismayed BB. That's what they do. Except the big problem for them, is when they assert that I must "do" anything. I don't have to do shit. It's commercial. They make an offer to which you can either accept or decline. I appreciate the offer, but such that it will not be in my best interest, must decline. Thank you.

BullyBearish's picture many times did trump go back to the well for his travel he's really NOT going to pursue this...there's too much money for his friends in it...


By the way, how's mr. trump doing on these:

1. Pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange as a sign he WELCOMES whistle blowers and putting the PEOPLE'S business in the LIGHT

2. Begin to revoke the fed's charter by putting Ron Paul in charge of a special investigation of fed malfeasance

3. Revoke israel's special exemption from foreign lobbying registration and fully audit AIPAC with an intention to uncover bribery and espionage

4. Immediately indict Bill and Hillary Clinton and others from the Clinton Foundation on charges of corruption, espionage, and theft

5. Rescind all future payments/allotments to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and israel until they are in compliance with international law and human rights standards

6. Cease saber rattling against Iran and Russia and work toward peaceful, complementary accommodations

7. Draw down the 600 plus U.S. military bases around the world and bring the Americans HOME


8. Initially shift 30% of the current military budget to domestic infrastructure needs with a mandate of further reductions of 10% per year

GernB's picture

LOL The congress gave up repeal before they started this legislation.

BuckWild's picture

I dont fucking want health insurance. I fucking want GREAT HEALTH CARE!

Embrey's picture

Hey Paul Ryan, stay out of my fucking vagina.
There is no more health insurance. There is corporate, fascist, health/wealth redistribution mechanism.

Arrow4Truth's picture

You can't have it... unless of course you are willing to care for yourself. Did you mean medical care? Medical care is not health care. Did you mean treatement for a dis-ease or injury? Treatment for a dis-ease is not actually treating a dis-ease, it's prescribing man-mand chemicals to aleviate a  symptom which in turn creates side-effects, but rarely solves the problem by treating the cause. So, you want that, or do you want to pay for advice on how to care for your health? One could define "great health care" as exceptionally resetting a broken bone such that the injury does not cause difficulties later... but that's obviously not what you meant. Great health care? What are you willing to pay? Gotta factor in the cost of providing that same service for those that cannot afford it. So really Buck... what the fuck do you want? (sarc) Cheers.

BetterRalph's picture

Best one line post that sums it up.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Pure Evil Mar 25, 2017 8:15 AM

none of this is good

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Ghost of PartysOver Mar 24, 2017 9:51 AM
Steve Bannon Says American Health Care Act ‘Written by the Insurance Industry’

White House chief strategist and former Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon has privately expressed concern that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) betrays the populist voters who put Donald Trump in the White House.

No shit! 

And they folded, thanks Freedom Cacus

max2205's picture

Just give me a big supply of morphine and I'll health myself thank you wash idiots