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 RyanTrump once asked Paul Ryan why he couldn’t be ‘loyal': book AEI names Robert Doar as new president GOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism MORE (R-Wis.) called off the vote.

"We go home," said Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaTrump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 GOP trading fancy offices, nice views for life in minority Casey secures third Senate term over Trump-backed Barletta 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The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, would have repealed major pieces of ObamaCare and replaced it with a new tax credit.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: House set to vote on bill targeting drug companies for overcharging Medicaid | Dems press Trump officials on pre-existing conditions | Tobacco giant invests .8B in Canadian marijuana grower GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules Cards Against Humanity offering midterm expansion pack in effort to back Dems in key races 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 AmashDems revive impeachment talk after latest Cohen bombshell McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader On The Money: Trump says he won't declare emergency 'so fast' | Shutdown poised to become longest in history | Congress approves back pay for workers | More federal unions sue over shutdown 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.