House Republicans pulled a controversial health care bill from the floor Wednesday, after a strenuous attempt by leaders to secure enough votes for its passage failed. It’s the latest instance of Speaker John A. Boehner’s difficulties in controlling his unruly conference.
The legislation would have diverted funding from one part of “Obamacare” to another part that was facing implementation difficulties. Conservative outside groups which opposed it said the legislation would reduce the urgency to repeal the entire health care law.
Specifically, the bill transferred $3 billion to the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan under the health care law, which GOP leaders have argued was in line with Republican policy goals.
House Democrats made clear they would largely oppose the bill, which meant it would have needed almost all Republican votes to secure a 218-vote majority, something that has proven difficult for Boehner given the GOP’s slim majority margin.
The episode is also a victory for Heritage Action for America, the Club for Growth and other conservative groups that mobilized against the bill.
A spokeswoman for Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said leaders may attempt to resurrect the bill after the House returns May 6 from a week-long recess. Finding enough votes was made more difficult this week because a number of Republicans traveled to Texas for the opening of George W. Bush’s presidential library.
“We had good conversations with our members and made a lot of solid progress. There’s still work to do and with members leaving town for the Bush Library dedication in Texas, we’ll continue the conversations after the district work period,” McCarthy spokeswoman Erica Elliott said.