by Lukas Villarin
March 23-30 – A stunning blow was delivered to Trump and his administration Friday, March 24, when the bill that was to repeal “Obamacare,” otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, was pulled mere moments before the vote. Despite heavy lobbying the week before, Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump would not have had the necessary number of votes to pass the American Health Care Act, even in the projections before the vote. President Trump, although pushing for the bill to come to vote in order to see “who his friends are,” according to Politico, later admitted that they were already estimating a shortage of 10 to 15 votes before they decided to pull it. This is a major defeat not only to Trump, but to the Republican party, as this bill, one of Trump’s first major pieces of legislation and a big promise on his campaign trail, was supposed to be the culmination of the Republican party’s vow to repeal Obamacare ever since its introduction seven years ago.
After the pull, Speaker Paul Ryan conceded, saying that “Obamacare is the law of the land…It’s going to remain the law of the land until it’s replaced.” As of right now, there are no concrete plans in the works.
President Donald Trump initially blamed the House Democrats for the failure, saying they are “smiling in D.C.” at his bill’s defeat. However, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus released a statement shortly after saying the administration is open to working with the Democrats on future reform.
In response to the failure, following a tweet from President Trump telling people to tune in, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, a former U.S. prosecutor and personal friend to Donald Trump, called for Paul Ryan’s resignation that Sunday, March 26. “Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the House… He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill,” she said. However, spokesperson AshLee Strong told ABC news that the relationship between Trump and Ryan is “stronger than ever,” further confirming that “The two spoke again today…The president was clear his tweet had nothing to do with the speaker. They are both eager to get back to work on the agenda.” She did not mention, however, why Trump tweeted it.
The defeat of Trump’s health care bill is a stunning upset to an already rocky administration, especially considering how much the Republicans have been promising to repeal it for the past seven years. However, now that they seem more open to collaboration with House Democrats, I think a promising compromise can be found as the two parties work together to find a good middle ground. Of course, I find myself more concerned with the compatibility of further reforms with middle-to-lower class families, but I am, admittedly, not at all disappointed in the failure of the American Health Care Act.