Trump’s health­care bill dies on the House floor

CityPress - - News -

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

PHOTO: REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUE

BLOCKED Some Repub­li­cans feel Donald Trump’s re­form bill could cost them

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