Ryan says Obamacare will 'remain the law of the land' after health bill failure

The house speaker conceded that the GOP came up short.

ByABC News
March 24, 2017, 6:24 PM

— -- Just weeks after House Speaker Paul Ryan introduced the GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare -- a central campaign promise from Congress and the president -- the Wisconsin Republican pulled the measure from the floor, calling it "fundamentally flawed."

"Obamacare is the law of the land... and we're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future," Ryan conceded a short time after the bill was dropped.

For years, Republicans had vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and now with the presidency and both houses of Congress, they appeared to be in a position to do so.

But the American Health Care Act faced stiff and growing opposition from the time that it was introduced on March 6, with the chorus of moderate and conservative members of the GOP coming out against it growing.

With health care apparently behind them, Republicans appear poised to pursue other parts of their legislative agenda, including border security, rebuilding the military, controlling the deficit and tax reform.

"Now 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," Ryan said.

Sources told ABC that Trump called Ryan at 3 p.m. and told him to pull the bill because they could not get enough "yes" votes to push it through to the Senate after weeks of negotiations. Ryan said he and the Trump administration "came very close, but we did not get that consensus."

Ryan said at the press conference that he told Trump they should drop the bill. "He agreed with me," Ryan said.

The speaker appeared conflicted about the bill that he and the president touted as the replacement for Obamacare, which Trump said was on track to "explode."

"I'm really proud of the bill we produced," Ryan said, but later commented "it is so fundamentally flawed" that he doesn't know if it would be possible to continue to prop up the bill as-is.

He remained steadfast in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, adding "what's probably most troubling is the worst is yet to come with Obamacare."

Ryan praised other members of Congress for their input on the bill, but cited "growing pains" as the reason why they "came up short."

"Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains and, well, we're feeling those growing pains today," he said.

The Speaker added that the President "gave his all in this effort... he's been really fantastic."

Repealing and replacing Obamacare has been a signature priority of the Republican Party for the last seven years.

"I will not sugarcoat this, this is a disappointing day for us," Ryan said.

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