Vice President Pence on Saturday blamed House Democrats and a "handful" of Republicans a day after the White House and House GOP leaders suffered a stunning failure to secure support for their healthcare plan.
Speaking at a construction supply depot in West Virginia, Pence appeared to shrug off the failure of President Trump's first major legislative push, dismissing the defeat as a sign that "Congress just wasn't ready" for healthcare reform.
"You saw it," he said. "With 100 percent of House Democrats – every single one – and a handful of House Republicans actually standing in the way of President Trump’s plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. We’re back to the drawing board."
"It was a victory for the status quo in Washington, D.C., and it was a victory for the disaster of ObamaCare," Pence added. "I promise you, that victory won’t last long. The American people want ObamaCare gone."
"Every day ObamaCare survives is another day that America suffers," he said.
Pence echoed Trump's remarks Friday, when he blasted House Democrats for refusing to back the American Health Care Act, the GOP measure to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
Trump did not court Democratic support for the bill, which ultimately failed as several dozen Republicans stood opposed to it ahead of a scheduled vote on Friday. The bill was pulled before the vote took place.
Trump said he directed Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.) to pull the legislation on Friday, and signaled he would move on to other major legislative agenda items, such as tax reform.
Ryan conceded at a news conference Friday afternoon that the Affordable Care Act would remain in place for the "foreseeable future" following the failure to pass the GOP plan.
Trump on Saturday morning said he would allow ObamaCare to "explode," predicting that Democrats would then be willing to compromise on a replacement plan.
"ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Pence touted the president's prediction in his speech on Saturday, but seemed to maintain his past calls to repeal ObamaCare, which he called a failed law built on broken promises.
The vice president indicated that Trump would move on to tackle tax reform and focus on jobs and deregulation.
He touted the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ February jobs report of 235,000 jobs created, and boasted about increased confidence among U.S. businesses, for which Trump has taken credit.
“Businesses and consumers haven’t been this confident in years and by some measures more than a decade,” Pence said. “Folks, the era of slow growth is over and a new era of American growth and jobs has already begun.”