By Agence France-Presse
An angry President Donald Trump railed Tuesday against dissenters in his party who dashed his months-long effort to dismantle his predecessor’s landmark health care law, insisting it was finally time to “let Obamacare fail.”
With four Republicans now lined up against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s health overhaul, the plan has flatlined in the 100-member chamber, where the party could afford only two defectors in order to get the measure passed.
McConnell announced a fresh effort aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act now and crafting a replacement later, but that, too, ran into opposition from at least three Republicans who refused to repeal the law without a suitable fix at the ready.
The dramatic implosion effectively means Trump, who marks his first six months in office later this week, has no major legislative victory under his belt, squandering months of political capital.
Trump fired off a series of early morning tweets complaining about how he was “let down” by Democrats “and a few Republicans,” who announced their opposition to the leadership plan to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Trump had campaigned relentlessly on a pledge to abolish most of the ACA, proclaiming at an October campaign rally that it would be “so easy” to immediately repeal and replace the law.
But on Monday night he ran into the uncompromising reality of American politics: even with a president’s party enjoying a majority in both chambers, crafting and passing landmark legislation can be perilous in the US Congress.
The failure suggests an inability by Trump — a political neophyte who often highlighted his lack of connections to establishment Washington — to get members of his own party to fall into line.
Trump put on a brave face, insisting on Twitter that “we will return!”
But later Tuesday at the White House Trump said he was “disappointed” about the roadblock and that now it would be easier to just “let Obamacare fail.”
He also stressed he wanted nothing to do with the blame for the collapse.
“We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it,” he said.
“We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us” looking to work on a solution.
The president was also eager to claw back some of the Republicans who had opposed the plans, leaving open the prospect of another effort later this year, and urged Republicans to do better at the ballot box in 2018 in order to have a larger Senate majority.
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