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Republican Leaders Postpone Vote On Health Care Bill

Mar 24, 2017
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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The big story at this hour - President Trump has told Congress not to vote on Republicans' long-awaited replacement for the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. Let's go first to NPR's Susan Davis who is at the Capitol. Hey there, Sue.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Kelly.

MCEVERS: What happened today?

DAVIS: Well, it was literally just minutes before the House was about to begin voting on their health care plan when it was announced that Republicans were going into a private meeting. And in that meeting, the speaker told his colleagues that he was pulling the bill from the floor and that this is what he advised president Trump was the way to go. And then in a private meeting with the president, the president agreed.

Sources in the room and aides that I've talked to said that the speaker essentially did not want to make his members take what would be a politically tough vote when they knew it did not have the votes to pass on the floor. So he didn't want to put his members on the line. And so he made the decision to pull the bill. This is unfolding right now.

MCEVERS: Right.

DAVIS: But the people I'm speaking to also say they do still believe that this means that the health care bill is effectively dead.

MCEVERS: I mean this is after a long day yesterday of attempts at negotiations and getting to the votes. What are you hearing from lawmakers today?

DAVIS: You know, the momentum today going into this vote - it seemed pretty clear that the bill was going to fail. The members who came out and stated their positions today were all noes. They did not have anyone coming out in favor of the bill after the announcement came last night that the president was telling Republicans that he wanted a vote and he wanted it today.

You know, they simply could not find the consensus they needed to govern. This is not an unfamiliar place for Republicans to be. This is the same problem that dogged the speaker before him, John Boehner. The difference was they had a Democrat in the White House. Now they have a Republican in the White House, and they are having the same hard time finding a governing majority.

MCEVERS: Thanks so much, Sue, on Capitol Hill. Stay with us. We'll come back to you in a minute. I understand we have a congressman on the line now. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.