By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, March 25, 2017, the American Health Care Act was withdrawn from consideration after both the Whitehouse and the Speaker of the House’s office realized they did not have the votes for passage.
US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) expressed disappointment upon the withdrawal of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), and said this that legislative setback is a missed opportunity to deliver on a promise conservatives have made to the American people for seven years. Rep. Roby said in a statement, “The American people gave Republicans a tremendous opportunity to deliver results on their behalf. Our Republican majority’s failure to rally around this priority and keep good faith on the promise we made is disappointing to say the least.”
Rep. Roby said. “Today I was prepared to keep my promise and vote ‘yes’ and I am disheartened that I did not have the chance to be a voice for the people I serve. I fought hard for this bill, and I will continue to fight for those burdened by Obamacare. The status quo is simply unacceptable, and I appreciate that President Trump and Speaker Ryan worked diligently to build support for this plan.”
US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said, “The problems with Obamacare are not going away. This law is imploding before our eyes, and action will ultimately be required. President Trump and Speaker Ryan worked hard to get this bill across the finish line, and I supported them 100 percent. But our efforts came up just short.”
Rep. Byrne said, “We must move on from this moment and continue working to solve the problems facing our nation. We are going to make America great again, and that requires us to work together for the good of everyone in our nation.”
US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) said, “After hearing from me and many of my colleagues the Republican leadership decided not to hold the vote on the American Health Care Act. I believe pulling the bill from the House floor was the right call. The American people have suffered for the last 7 years under Obamacare, and I know we can provide them a better solution that will put healthcare decisions back in their hands, not in the hands of the Federal Government. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and President Trump to do just that. Working together we can still pass a bill that allows Americans to access the doctors they want, decide the coverage they need, and lower their healthcare expenses.”
Democrats were jubilant as this means that the much maligned Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as Obamacare, remains the law of the land.
Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley said in a statement, “The failure of the Republican healthcare plan today was a great victory for 24 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands of Alabamians, who will still have health insurance coverage.”
Chair Worley added, “Tens of thousands of concerned citizens across Alabama and the nation made phone calls and signed petitions to oppose the GOP bill, and House Republicans and President Trump folded under the intense pressure. However, the fact remains that Republicans are still just as committed as ever to repealing the Affordable Care Act and taking health care away from tens of millions of Americans.”
Worley warned, “Democrats must remain vigilant and be prepared to defend hard-working Americans from the Republican onslaught against those who need health care services. Republicans are determined to deprive millions of children, seniors, and people with disabilities of health care in order to get over $200 billion in tax cuts for the super-rich.”
What happens next is anyone’s guess. Can the increasingly divided little factions within the House Republican Caucus come together on any significant legislation? The squabbling between the Tuesday group and the Freedom Caucus derailed the GOP healthcare plan. Are similar outcomes now inevitable on the GOP tax reform plan? The GOP immigration reform plan? The repeal of Dodd-Frank? The budget?
President Donald J. Trump let the House Republican Caucus write their own healthcare reform plan with very little input from the administration and then personally backed their work 100 percent and his faith in House members appears now to have been badly misplaced. Does this force the President to rely now more on his executive and regulatory agency writing powers to try to get things done as even a friendly Congress can’t actually be trusted to actually do anything of substance?