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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 RyanFreedomWorks backs Jim Jordan for House Speaker House, Senate GOP compete for cash Some doubt McCarthy or Scalise will ever lead House GOP MORE (R-Wis.) called off the vote.

"We go home," said Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaGOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2018 Lawmakers push prevention measures ahead of new wildfire season 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The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, would have repealed major pieces of ObamaCare and replaced it with a new tax credit.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 BurgessMaternal deaths keep rising in US, raising scrutiny House passes 'right to try' drug bill Overnight Health Care: What to expect in omnibus | HIV expert to head CDC | Sessions issues memo on death penalty for drug cases 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 AmashSome doubt McCarthy or Scalise will ever lead House GOP McCarthy faces obstacles in Speaker bid House Freedom Caucus flexes muscle in Speaker's race 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.