GOES UP IN SMOKE
demonstrates that campaigning and legislating are two different things,” said Jim Manley, once a top aide to former Democratic senate majority leader Harry Reid.
Representative Joe Barton of Texas blamed the failure on Republicans — who control the White House, Senate and the House — still learning how to govern after eight years of Obama.
“Sometimes you’re playing fantasy football and sometimes you’re in the real game,” Barton said.
Representative Mario DiazBalart of Florida called it “a big blow” for the Republican agenda.
Trump’s efforts to engage the bill’s opponents at times seemed to muddy the process further, as he largely cut Ryan out of negotiations. (Ryan didn’t seem to mind, calling Trump a “great closer.”)
But even as Trump offered concessions, conservatives did not budge and moderates were angered.
Stuart Diamond, a professor who teaches negotiation at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said Trump’s strong-arm tactics backfired.
“Threats don’t work in general. They cause damage to relationships. They definitely don’t work in a situation with a lot of different stakeholders, where the power is distributed.”
After the bill was revised along Trump’s specifications, the Congressional Budget Office, which analyses the financial impact of proposed legislation, determined that the bill would deprive 24 million Americans of health insurance over the next decade and slice US$150 billion (RM664 billion) off the budget deficit.
The CBO said the bill would not affect the number of uninsured, but it would reduce the budget deficit significantly less than the original bill, troubling fiscal hawks.
Representative Bill Huizenga, a Michigan Republican who is also a small-business owner, said Trump was still getting used to governing.
“There are parallels between government and business, but they are not exactly the same.”
The lesson from the debacle, said John Feehery, a Republican strategist who was an aide to former House speaker Dennis Hastert, was that the White House need to take a firmer hand in crafting legislative strategy. On healthcare, Trump largely deferred to Ryan’s office, which drafted the bill in secret, sowing mistrust among conservatives.
Congress now faces arguably an even tougher legislative reform: overhauling the tax code, which has not been done since 1986 and involves navigating a snake pit of competing special interests. Like Trump’s healthcare proposal, it could struggle against public opinion, with Democrats likely to cast it as a Republican giveaway to the rich. Republicans now have to hope voters will not punish them for failing to deliver on a promise they had been making since Obamacare was passed in 2010, and that they will still believe this president when he says he can strike a deal.
“This is a promise the Republicans made to voters. They need to get it right,” said Rachel Bovard, a policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
She urged Republicans to “start over”.
It is unclear when that could happen. Reuters
US President Donald Trump at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Friday.