As talks break down over the Republican legislative bid to repeal and replace Obamacare, one GOP House lawmaker laid out a frank and brutal assessment of his own party.
Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio told reporters on Wednesday that the GOP’s inability to pass the American Health Care Act was the party’s own fault.
“I thought this would be the easiest thing to do. I’m surprised we’ve been this incompetent,” Chabot said, according to the Washington Examiner’s Kimberly Leonard.
Chabot added that “cautiously optimistic may be a little strong” on the chances that recent wrangling between Republican moderates and conservative factions — with moderation from the White House — would lead to a deal.
Soon after Chabot’s comments, Politico’s Jake Sherman reported that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office confirmed there would be no vote on legislation this week before the House’s two-week Easter recess.
While the lack of a vote is not surprising, it came after a week during which Republicans started optimistic. And it capped off a wild month for the AHCA, which was
introduced on March 6 by the House GOP leadership that included House Speaker Paul Ryan, Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, and Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden.
Since then, it has gone through three committees and a last-minute overhaul over fierce objections from conservatives. The bill was pulled not once, but twice from planned floor votes because it lacked the Republican support needed to pass. The second time came after an ultimatum from President Donald Trump the night before the vote, in which he told the conference to pass the bill or be stick with Obamacare.
Even after the bill was yanked and it seemed Republicans were ready to move on, the White House — led by Vice President Mike Pence — attempted to revive the negotiations over the past week and a half. But they found little common ground for ways to change the bill and make it acceptable for both conservatives and moderates.
Or as Rep. Chris Collins of New York told the Washington Examiner: “I went from pessimistic two weeks ago to being somewhat hopeful on Monday to now being pessimistic again.”