Politics

A look back at all the recent failed GOP attempts at repealing Obamacare

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan delivers remarks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol after President Trump's healthcare bill was pulled from the floor of the House of Representatives March 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. In a big setback to the agenda of President Donald Trump and the Speaker, Ryan cancelled a vote for the American Health Care Act, the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also called 'Obamacare.' (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images
On March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled the first vote on the GOP plan to dismantle Obamacare.

On Tuesday afternoon, Senate Republicans said they would not bring the latest attempt to repeal Obamacare to a vote, citing a lack of support among GOP senators.

The move was just the latest in a long string of setbacks for Republicans in pushing the bill through. Here’s a look at all the other times the party’s attempts came to a standstill under President Trump.

House’s first attempt

On March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled the first vote on the GOP plan to dismantle the health care law as archconservative members of the House Freedom Caucus said they would oppose the bill.

Advertisement

Support for the bill was lacking even after Trump appealed to Representative Mark Meadows, the group’s leader, days beforehand, at one point singling him out in front of colleagues and telling him: ‘‘I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote ‘yes.’”

Get This Week in Politics in your inbox:
A weekly recap of the top political stories from The Globe, sent right to your email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The move highlighted deep divisions among congressional Republicans.

“Doing big things is hard,” Ryan said afterwards.

House passes second attempt in May

Although Ryan had said in March that there were no plans to refile the legislation, Republicans made a second attempt six weeks later — one that passed 217 to 213.

Senate’s first attempt crumbles

On June 22, Senate Republicans released their first shot at overturning Obamacare, an attempt to strike a compromise between the existing law and the House bill. Senators had hoped to pass the bill before July 4. However, the bill faced mounting criticism and a dismal CBO score, leading McConnell to shelve a vote in late June because there weren’t enough supporters. After meeting with Trump, McConnell said there was a ‘‘really good chance’’ of passing the bill, but it wouldn’t happen before July 4 as planned.

Advertisement

More than two weeks later, GOP leaders unveiled a new version of their bill, but immediately lost two key votes. On July 18, the plan collapsed in the Senate, leading Trump himself to say it was time to simply let Obamacare fail. However, the next day, Trump summoned GOP senators to the White House and told them they shouldn’t leave town for their August recess without sending him a bill to sign. McConnell also said that day that he expected Republicans would be able to begin debate on repealing the law the following week.

Pence casts tiebreaking vote for motion to debate

On July 25, Senate Republicans squeaked by with a motion to continue debate on a shell of a bill, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tiebreaker. Two Republican senators voted against the initial motion to proceed to debate — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — leaving Republicans with only the slimmest of margins.

Senator John McCain had flown in from Arizona for the vote between treatments for brain cancer. In a rousing speech that day, McCain denounced the secrecy in which McConnell and his leadership team drafted versions of a repeal bill, even as he enabled the unusual strategy by making the trip to cast his pivotal vote.

Senate’s overturn-only bill fails

The next day, Senate Republicans failed in another attempt to overturn the law after seven conservatives — including Collins and McCain — bucked leadership and refused to support the proposal without a ready replacement.

The bill would have eliminated Obamacare in two years, which left some senators feeling squeamish.

Advertisement

“I don’t think Tennesseans would be comfortable canceling insurance for 22 million Americans and trusting Congress to find a replacement in two years,” Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, the Health Committee chairman, said afterwards.

McCain votes against ‘Skinny repeal’

Two days later, Senate Republicans failed in passing what had been dubbed a “skinny repeal” — which would have erased several parts of Obamacare — after Collins, McCain, and Senator Lisa Murkowski cast ballots against it in an overnight vote.

The failure led Trump to scold McConnell in the weeks after on Twitter, at one point tweeting, ‘‘Why not done?’’

Collins comes out against Graham-Cassidy bill, sealing its fate

On Monday night, Collins came out against the latest legislation — dubbed the Graham-Cassidy bill, after the senators who sponsored it — joining McCain, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz in opposition, making rejection all but inevitable.

Republican leaders decided Tuesday to hold off on a vote, surrendering on their last-gasp effort to deliver on the party’s banner campaign promise.