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Republican bid to gut Obamacare crashes in bitter blow to Donald Trump

The collapse marks a major setback for Republican leadership and for Trump

Yasmeen Abutaleb Amanda Becker & David Morgan | Reuters  |  Washington 

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

A US led by Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans dealt the president a harsh blow on Friday, failing to move ahead with a major campaign promise to dismantle as they fell one vote short of passing health care legislation.

Three senators — John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — joined Democrats in the dramatic early-morning 51-49 vote rejecting the Bill. The outcome may spell doom for the party’s seven-year quest to gut a 2010 law that was Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was unsuccessful in securing passage of even a stripped-down so-called skinny Bill that would have repealed a few key parts of Broader legislation was defeated earlier in the week.

“It’s time to move on,” McConnell, whose reputation as a master strategist was in tatters, said on the floor after the vote that unfolded at roughly 1:30 am.

“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” McConnell added. “The American people are going to regret that we couldn’t find a better way forward.”

The Senate’s action also means that the Affordable Care Act, which extended health insurance to 20 million people and drove the percentage of uninsured people to historic lows, remains in place and must be administered by an administration hostile to it. Republicans have long denounced as an intrusion by government on people’s decisions.

The failure called into question the Party’s basic ability to govern even as it controls the White House, and House of Representatives. Trump has not had a major legislative victory after more than six months in office. He had vowed to get major health care legislation, tax cuts and a boost in infrastructure spending through Congress in short order.

“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let implode, then deal. Watch!” Trump wrote on Twitter after the vote.

First Published: Sat, July 29 2017. 10:10 IST