Crucial vote on bill to replace Obamacare delayed in US president’s first major legislative test.
A vote in the US House of Representatives on a bill to repeal and replace “Obamacare” has been delayed, in a stinging setback for President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan in their first major legislative test.
Division within their Republican party means there are not enough votes to secure the new bill.
Conservative Republicans have condemned the bill as too similar to the law it is meant to replace. Democrats and moderate Republicans, meanwhile, fear it will take insurance away from millions of people.
“No deal,” Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative members of the House, said.
Meadows and his group of more than two dozen Republicans met Trump on Thursday to try to get more concessions to reduce requirements on insurance companies.
Lawmakers said a vote would be held on Friday morning, despite the unclear outcome.
Repealing and replacing former president Barack Obama’s healthcare law was one of the major campaign promises of Trump, who ran as a master dealmaker.
Mark Petersen, a professor of public policy at the University of California, said getting the deal passed is “extremely critical” for Trump’s ability to move forward with his agenda.
“Usually when a president comes in, this stage is what we call a honeymoon period. He’s trying to rack up some big wins in Congress to build momentum,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Right now his White House has been described as in a bit of chaos. He has not been doing well in popular support. To have this vote put off and perhaps even have a defeat would be quite a setback.”
Conservative Republicans oppose the new legislation because it scraps Obamacare, but puts another government plan in its place. They believe healthcare should be left to the free market.