Top Republican: The healthcare bill is dead

Top Republican: The healthcare bill is dead
© Greg Nash

House Republicans canceled a Friday vote on their healthcare bill and have no plans to try again.

"This bill is dead," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), whose panel had jurisdiction over the bill.

Republican lawmakers streamed out of a meeting ashen-faced after Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP chairman to discuss Charlottesville as domestic terrorism at hearing Trump’s isolation grows GOP lawmaker: Trump 'failing' in Charlottesville response MORE (R-Wis.) called off the vote.

"We go home," said Rep. Lou BarlettaLou BarlettaPennsylania Dems file ethics complaint against Rep. Barletta GOP rep to run for Senate in Pennsylvania: report GOP signals infrastructure bill must wait MORE (R-Pa.).

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The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, would have repealed major pieces of ObamaCare and replaced it with a new tax credit.

Asked if the country is stuck with ObamaCare, Rep. Michael BurgessMichael BurgessMedicaid efficiency is needed now, more than ever In the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue New hope for ObamaCare repeal? Key GOP lawmaker working on amendment MORE (R-Texas) replied: "Yes."

"We tried. We tried our hardest. There were people who weren't not interested in solving the problem. They won today. The Freedom Caucus wins. They get ObamaCare forever." 

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) acknowledged in a press conference that the healthcare law will remain on the books for now.

"We are going to be living with ObamaCare for the foreseeable future," Ryan said.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus held out support for the healtchare bill, demanding that GOP leaders go further in repealing more aspects of ObamaCare.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the leader of Freedom Caucus, declined to comment to reporters multiple times after the GOP conference meeting. 

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe five kinds of Republicans who could primary Trump Overnight Defense: Military won't lift transgender ban until Trump sends directions | House passes national security spending | Russian sanctions bill heads to Trump Overnight Finance: House passes spending bill with border wall funds | Ryan drops border tax idea | Russia sanctions bill goes to Trump's desk | Dems grill bank regulator picks MORE (R-Mich.), a Freedom Caucus member, said Congress should keep trying, despite GOP leaders saying they are moving on.

"In our system, a constitutional republic, we try something, it might fail, we try again," Amash said. "The responsible thing is to keep working at this because it's an important issue for the American people."

Peter Sullivan and Jessie Hellmann contributed.