WASHINGTON: Days after the collapse of the Republican effort to repeal Obama’s health care law, House leaders said Tuesday it’s not dead yet — but they offered few details on timing, how divisions within the party would be overcome or any new provision on which they could agree.
The Senate was skeptical, but the White House says it may work with Democrats and expects to eventually forge a deal.
House Republicans, who have promised for seven years to repeal the 2010 law, said they’ve found new resolve in the wake of their embarrassing inability Friday to vote on a measure that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
“The general consensus was ‘Let’s get it done,’?” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., who supported the bill last week. “It’s something the American people have demanded that we do. We’re going to press on until we get it done.”
The renewed effort came as House Republicans met behind closed doors for the first time since Friday afternoon when House Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull the GOP substitute legislation from the floor, lacking the votes among his members to get it passed and raising questions about Republicans’ ability to govern.
Conservative members believed the legislation didn’t go far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act, while more moderate members were worried about estimates that more than 24 million Americans could lose coverage under the bill.
Ryan, who conceded Friday that President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment would remain the “law of the land,” spoke with Trump over the weekend and went to the White House on Monday. After the meeting Tuesday, he suggested some of his members may be ready for compromise.
“Some of those who were in the ‘no’ camp expressed a willingness to work on getting to ‘yes’ and to making this work,” Ryan said.
“We want to get it right. We’re going to keep talking to each other until we get it right.”
Members of the House Freedom Caucus, which Trump has blamed for the loss, said they would be open to finding a fix.
“We’re looking at all kinds of options to get to yes,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the caucus chairman.
Ryan declined to lay out a timeline “because this is too important to not get right and to put an artificial time line on,” though the House last week had unsuccessfully tried to time its repeal vote on the seventh anniversary of Obama signing the bill into law.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, appeared resigned that the battle over Obamacare is over, at least for now.
“Our Democratic friends ought to be pretty happy about that, because we have the existing law in place,” McConnell said. “And I think we’re just going to have to see how that works out.
“We believe it will not work out.”