Not even the God-Emperor’s intervention was enough to save it:
Following a day of drama in Congress yesterday, Friday was another nail-biter until the last moment, and after Trump’s Thursday ultimatum failed to yield more “yes” votes, the embattled bill seeking to replace major parts of Obamacare was yanked Friday from the floor of the House.
As a result, Trump suffered a second consecutive blow as opposition from within his own party forced Republican leaders to cancel a vote on healthcare reform for the second time, casting doubt on the president’s ability to deliver on other priorities.
The withdrawal pointed to Trump’s failure to charm republicans in the last minute, raising questions about whether he could unify Republicans behind his pro-growth legislative goals of tax reform and infrastructure spending.
NBC News reported that the President Donald Trump asked House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., to pull the bill. A source told NBC that Ryan during visit to Trump at the White House earlier Friday afternoon had “pleaded to pull” the bill after telling the president that the GOP leaders had failed to convince enough House Republicans to support the bill.
Trump personally told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa about the move to avoid an embarrassing loss in the House during a phone call, Costa tweeted. “We just pulled it,” Trump reportedly said to Costa.
A large number of GOP House members had declared their opposition to the bill since Thursday night. It was the second time in less than 30 hours that Republicans postponed a scheduled House vote on the American Health Care Act. Republicans could afford to lose at most 22 members of their caucus in the vote. But as of Friday afternoon, there were 34 GOP House member publicly opposing the bill.
Ryan visited Donald Trump at the White House at around 1 p.m. to inform him of the shortfall in support. The second delay was another humiliating setback for GOP leaders and Trump, who had thrown his weight behind the bill.
Trump on Thursday night demanded that the House vote on the plan on Friday, and said he would not agree to change the bill further than he already had in an effort to persuade wavering Republicans to back it.
Shortly after the president drew that line in the sand, GOP leaders amended the bill further to allow states, as opposed to the federal government, to mandate what essential health benefits have to be part of all insurance plans.
But as was the case on Thursday, GOP leaders knew Friday that if the vote occurred as scheduled, the bill would be defeated.
I think the key thing here is that the God-Emperor learns who his allies are. He should have been working with the conservative element in the House that voted against the act, not the Ryan-led mainstream element that was the core Republican opposition to him in the primaries.
This is going to be a little counterintuitive for a centrist negotiator like Trump, but he’s just experienced the same thing that George W. Bush did whenever immigration reform was proposed. The core Republican power in the House is the conservatives, not the moderates. To get anything done, Trump has to work with them first.
Ultimately, this should be a good thing, because Trump always learns from his failures. That’s why I don’t put any stock in the “fatal blow to Trump’s political capital” narrative that the opposition media will inevitably be pushing.