The Daily Telegraph

President’s pledge to scrap Obamacare in the balance as vote on reforms stalls

- Nick Allen still

By in Washington PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s cornerston­e campaign pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare was thrown into turmoil last night as Congress postponed a vote on the measure for at least a day.

Mr Trump and his Republican allies, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, had hoped to pass the proposed American Health Care Act, known as “Trumpcare” yesterday.

But they failed to achieve enough support from conservati­ve rebels within their own party who said the reforms did not go far enough.

Although the stalled bill could come to a vote in Congress in coming days, and perhaps as soon as today, it was a stinging setback and raised doubts about Republican­s’ ability to push through laws enacting Mr Trump’s key campaign pledges.

Mr Trump is demanding a vote on the measure today, the White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said. If the bill fails, Mr Trump is prepared to move on and leave Obamacare in place, Mr Mulvaney said.

The promise to repeal Obamacare was key to Republican­s keeping control of Congress, and to winning the White House, in November’s election. The bill was held up by members of the Freedom Caucus, a conservati­ve group of Republican politician­s. Congressma­n Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said there was “No deal” with the Republican leadership. He said he was still a “No” vote and he had told Mr Trump personally.

However, he praised Mr Trump, saying: “The engagement of the president (on this) is unparallel­ed in the history of our country.” The key issue was “does this bill reduce premiums enough” for Americans paying for health insurance.

Mr Meadows said last night, the seventh anniversar­y of former president Barack Obama signing his Affordable Care Act into law, had been an “artificial deadline imposed on ourselves” for repealing it.

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