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 RyanRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Lawmakers consider new security funding in wake of shooting Paul Ryan: ‘Beautiful day’ to catch up with Bono MORE (R-Wis.) called off the vote.

"We go home," said Rep. Lou BarlettaLou BarlettaCongress poised to prohibit airlines from forcibly removing customers GOP congressman: Cut back on town halls in wake of shooting Overnight Finance: Fed raises rates for second time in 2017 | GOP weighs keeping ObamaCare taxes | Tax reform becomes Wall Street obsession 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The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, would have repealed major pieces of ObamaCare and replaced it with a new tax credit.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 AmashRepublicans slam Trump’s new policy toward Cuba Kids shouldn't be charged as sex offenders Dem: Disrespect for rule of law by Trump administration 'off the charts' 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.