Trump’s healthcare bill dies on the House floor
For US President Donald Trump, the collapse on Friday of his first legislative priority, a healthcare reform bill, was an embarrassing loss of face after he and his administration insisted up until the time of the vote by the US House of Representatives that there was enough Republican support.
It brings into question the neophyte president’s ability to move big-ticket legislation through Congress. And for a celebrity businessperson who brands himself a dealmaker and fixer, it casts doubt over his ability to deliver on his bold promises to shake up Washington.
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 about $150 billion (R1.8 trillion) off the budget deficit.
There was a feeling among some Republicans that they had escaped a looming disaster, that had the bill become law and millions of voters lost health insurance, some Republicans feared they could suffer at the polls.
Even if the bill had passed the House, administration barely two months in office that has already seen its national security adviser resign, had its immigration restrictions struck down in courts, and faces a barrage of questions about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
The White House wants to advance, among other things, tax reform and a massive infrastructure package this year, but now it must address whether a change of approach is needed and whether congressional allies such as House Speaker Paul Ryan can be counted on to deliver.
“This is the most consequential day of Trump’s presidency and it’s not just a failure, it’s a stunning failure,” Charlie Sykes, an influential Wisconsin Republican political commentator and frequent Trump critic, said on Twitter.
Trump appeared to attribute the loss in part to his own inexperience after House leaders pulled their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare following defections by both moderate and far-right Republican members who were unmoved by Trump’s ultimatum to vote for the plan, or live with the current system.
– Staff reporter and agencies
BLOCKED Some Republicans feel Donald Trump’s reform bill could cost them