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Paul Ryan: 'This Is a Disappointing Day for Us'

Image: Paul Ryan: 'This Is a Disappointing Day for Us'
(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 24 Mar 2017 04:49 PM

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that President Donald Trump took his advice to pull the American Health Care Act because "we came really close today, but we came up short."

"I spoke to the president just a little while ago — and I told him that the best thing I think to do is to pull this bill and he agreed with that decision," the Wisconsin Republican told reporters at the Capitol.

"I will not sugar coat this: This is a disappointing day for us."

Republicans scrapped a vote on the proposal Friday, as more party members aligned with conservatives to oppose the bill after Trump demanded a vote on the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials — including chief strategist Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus — lobbied recalcitrant Republicans all week in an effort to gain more votes for the plan.

In light of the move, Ryan acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law seven years ago on Thursday, remains "the law of the land."

"I don't know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land," the speaker said. "It's going to remain the law of the land until it's replaced.

"We did not have quite the votes to replace this law. And, so, we're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.

"I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law."

Ryan explained the move as part of "growing pains" in "moving from an opposition party to a governing party.

"Doing big things is hard," he said. "All of us, we will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, what we could have done to do it better.

"But, ultimately, this all kind of comes down to a choice: Are all of us willing to give a little to get something done?

"Are we willing to say yes to the good, to the very good, even if it's not perfect?

"If we're willing to do that, we still have such an incredible opportunity in front of us," Ryan said. "There remains so much that we can do to help improve people's lives — and we will, because that's why I'm here."

Still, Ryan praised the legislation, saying that "I'm really proud of the bill that we produced.

"It would make a dramatic improvement in our healthcare system and provide relief by people hurting under Obamacare," he added. "What's probably most troubling is the worst is yet to come with Obamacare."

He declined to cast blame for which factions of the party were responsible for Trump's decision.

"There is a block of no votes that we had — and that is why this didn't pass," Ryan said. "There were a sufficient number of votes that prevented it from passing and they didn't change their votes.

"We were close.

"Our members know we did everything we could to get consensus," he later said. "This is how governing works when you're in the majority.

"We need to get 216 people to agree with each other to write legislation. Not 210, not 215. We need 216 people in the House to agree with each other on how to write a piece of legislation.

"We didn't have 216 people," Ryan explained. "We were close, but we did not have 216 people."

The speaker said that House Republicans were moving on to other issues, including tax reform and immigration.

"We're going to move on with the rest of our agenda, because we have big ambitious plans to improve people's lives in this country.

"We want to secure the border. We want to rebuild our military. We want to get the deficit under control. We want infrastructure — and we want tax reform.

"We will proceed with tax reform."

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House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that President Donald Trump took his advice to pull the American Health Care Act because "we came really close today, but we came up short."
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2017-49-24
Friday, 24 Mar 2017 04:49 PM
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