Monday 26 June 2017

Collapse of Trump's healthcare bill a 'stunning failure'

'Trump appeared to chalk up the loss in part to his own inexperience after House leaders pulled their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare following defections by both moderate and far-right Republican members' Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
'Trump appeared to chalk up the loss in part to his own inexperience after House leaders pulled their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare following defections by both moderate and far-right Republican members' Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jim Oliphant

In the end, 'the closer' couldn't close the deal.

For Donald Trump, the collapse last Friday of his first legislative priority, a healthcare reform bill, was an embarrassing loss of face after he and his administration insisted up until the time of the vote by the US House of Representatives that there was enough Republican support.

It brings into question his ability to move big legislation through Congress. And for a celebrity businessman who brands himself a deal-maker, it casts doubt on his "drain-the-swamp" promise to shake up Washington.

The White House wants to advance, among other things, tax reform and a massive infrastructure package this year, but now it must address whether a change of approach is needed and whether congressional allies such as House Speaker Paul Ryan can be counted on to deliver.

"This is the most consequential day of Trump's presidency and it's not just a failure, it's a stunning failure," Charlie Sykes, an influential Wisconsin Republican political commentator and frequent Trump critic, said on Twitter.

Trump appeared to chalk up the loss in part to his own inexperience after House leaders pulled their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare following defections by both moderate and far-right Republican members who were unmoved by Trump's ultimatum to vote for the plan or live with the current system. "We learned a lot about loyalty. We learned a lot about the vote-getting process," Trump said after the bill was withdrawn, saying he would move forward with other priorities.

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