Kentucky Democrats take victory lap as GOP replacement plan for ACA pulled in Congress

03/24/2017 06:33 PM

After years of campaigning on the promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives pulled their replacement bill from a vote as the legislation seemed doomed in Congress.

Even after President Trump issued an ultimatum to Congress to either vote on a repeal and replacement bill to the Affordable Care Act on Friday, or the existing bill would stay in place — Republicans still couldn’t pick up the votes needed to propel the legislation forward.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Trump announcing that the bill was pulled from consideration Friday afternoon, after the White House told media a vote would be held earlier in the day.

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, who had voiced support for the bill in town halls in Kentucky, appeared on CNN minutes after the House GOP caucus met to discuss the bill in a brief meeting Friday afternoon saying “never say never” when asked if a replacement bill would come up again this year in Congress.

“I don’t know if it will be permanently, but I think for the time being it sure sounds that way,” Barr said of a bill coming up again.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he appreciated the efforts at repeal even though the effort fell short.

“Obamacare is failing the American people and I deeply appreciate the efforts of the Speaker and the president to keep our promise to repeal and replace it,” McConnell said in a statement. “I share their disappointment that this effort came up short.”

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has been working to defeat the GOP House bill in recent weeks. He has been seeking support for his own plan to replace the ACA.

“I applaud House conservatives for keeping their word to the American people and standing up against Obamacare Lite,” Paul said in a statement. “I look forward to passing full repeal of Obamacare in the very near future.”

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, who has been outspoken on keeping the Affordable Care Act in place called the failed effort “vindication” in a statement.

“This is vindication for the Affordable Care Act and a lifeline for the millions of American families whose health coverage and care was threatened by this repeal legislation,” Yarmuth said. “It is now abundantly clear to every Member of Congress that the only option for progress going forward is bipartisan legislation to improve the Affordable Care Act. That’s what the American people want. It’s time to govern.”

Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear echoed the comments calling the winners of the pulled bill the Americans now receiving health care coverage under the ACA.

“The winners today are the millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who have been able to receive health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, many of them for the first time,” Beshear said in a statement. “It’s now time to put people over politics and collaborate across party lines to improve the ACA and further reform our health-care system.”

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer doubled down on Trump’s statements before the bill was pulled, indicating the White House would pursue other items on their agenda if the bill failed.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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