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 Davis RyanInterior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia National Dems make play in Ohio special election MORE (R-Wis.) called off the vote.

"We go home," said Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaElection Countdown: Latest on the 2018 Senate money race | Red-state Dems feeling the heat over Kavanaugh | Dem doubts about Warren | Ocasio-Cortez to visit Capitol Hill | Why Puerto Ricans in Florida could swing Senate race Midterm turnout surges for both parties Poll: Incumbent Dem leads Pennsylvania Senate race by 15 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The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, would have repealed major pieces of ObamaCare and replaced it with a new tax credit.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 Clifton BurgessOvernight Health Care: Official defends suspending insurer payments | What Kavanaugh's nomination means for ObamaCare | Panel approves bill to halt employer mandate House panel advances bill that would temporarily halt ObamaCare's employer mandate Trump signs 'right to try' drug bill 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 AmashHouse leaders clash over resolution backing ICE Trump: ‘Dems have a death wish’ GOP lawmaker: Trump 'went out of his way to appear subordinate' at Putin press conference 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.