The AHCA Vote Has Been Delayed Until Friday
Amid rumors of insufficient support, senior House Republicans delayed a vote on the AHCA, legislation aimed at repealing and replacing Obamacare, on Thursday. Although House Republicans had hoped their efforts to dismantle former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act would begin with a symbolic gesture completed by passing the American Health Care Act on the seventh anniversary of the ACA's passage, that vote was pushed back to Friday after it became clear the GOP still did not have the 216 votes required to pass the bill through to the House.
In a major setback for President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives opted to cancel Thursday's scheduled vote on American Health Care Act, or Trumpcare as some have dubbed it, rather than risk the bill becoming dead on arrival, so to speak. According to reports, weeks of negotiating by Trump and Ryan have fallen significantly short of securing the needed votes to assure the legislation would pass.
According to CNN's ongoing vote count, at least 26 House Republicans have said they would not support the GOP's healthcare plan. A vote tracker by the New York Times, claims at least 33 House Republicans are opposed to the bill with another 13 concerned or leaning toward opposition.
In the last week, Trump and Ryan have found their negotiation tactics put to the test as they sought to hammer out a deal that would appeal to both conservative and moderate members of the party. While conservative Republicans worry the American Health Care Act contains too many similarities to Obamacare, moderates have expressed concerns the bill is already too severe and could likely have heavy consequences for their constituents.
Despite the delayed vote and reports the president had been unable to strike a deal for "yes" votes with the conservative House Freedom Caucus, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared optimistic about the future of the American Health Care Act. "Through an open and deliberative process, the president and his team have helped to negotiate a very, very strong bill," Spicer told reporters at a press briefing Thursday, as CNN reported. "He was on the phone last night well into the 11 o'clock hour with members on an individual basis discussing their support for the bill."
Freedom Caucus Chairman Meadows told Reuters he was still a "no" vote as of late Thursday and felt Trumpcare's champion, House Speaker Ryan, had "a very difficult task [ahead of him] to get enough votes."
The House is now hoping to vote on the American Health Care Act sometime Friday, a White House official reportedly told CNN.