World Bulletin / News Desk
A plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law was dealt a major, possibly fatal, setback Friday when Republican leaders were forced to cancel a vote as it faced defeat.
The decision came within minutes of the planned do-or-die vote one day after House Speaker Paul Ryan announced the delay as he lacked direly needed support to pass the legislation through the chamber he leads.
Ryan is expected to address the matter in a forthcoming news conference.
The prospects for the bill's passage appeared bleak going into Friday with principal backer, President Donald Trump’s, approval ranking hovering in the high 30's, and the bill's disapproval ratings sitting at around 55 percent, giving hesitant lawmakers little reason to lend their support.
The bill faced a broad spectrum of opposition from Democrats and at-odds Republican subgroups, complicating back-door deal-making as concessions to one group invariably worked to alienate another.
A Quinnipiac University poll indicated only 17 percent of Americans support the Republican plan known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Shortly before the vote was canceled, spokesman Sean Spicer sought to distance the White House from the looming defeat, telling reporters "at the end of the day you can’t force somebody to do something.
"I think there's nobody that objectively can look at this effort and say the president didn't do every single thing he possibly could with his team to get every vote possible," he said.
The sign of weakening confidence in the bill's future signaled a growing realization that little could be done to save the bill in its eleventh hour.
Republicans campaigned in last year's election around repealing the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, and replacing it with a new plan -- but the details of the plan proved insurmountable for the party on its first push.
Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen was among a handful of undecided votes going into Friday. He announced his opposition in a Facebook post as the vote approached, saying that while he opposes the Affordable Care Act, the AHCA is "unacceptable".
"It would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey," the veteran Republican lawmaker said.
The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday the proposed replacement would reduce the federal budget deficit by $150 billion over the next decade. The original version of the legislation had been projected to decrease the deficit by $337 billion.
It was still forecast to cause 24 million people to lose their health coverage, according to the congressional agency.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Mart 2017, 10:05