After a day of contentious negotiations failed to convince enough Republicans to support the American Health Care Act, House GOP leadership gave up the goal of passing the bill Thursday.
Late Wednesday, the House Rules Committee approved a “same-day rule” that would essentially allow House leadership to bring the AHCA to the floor anytime through Monday. The House is set to vote on that rule at 8 p.m.
The move to delay a vote comes as a setback for both Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump, especially since just hours earlier, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he was confident that the House would vote on—and pass—the bill Thursday night.
“It’s going to pass, so that’s it,” Spicer said.
He also acknowledged that crafting a bill that will garner enough support from both hardline conservatives and moderate Republicans has required compromise. “It’s a balancing act, make no mistake about it,” Spicer said.
One of the changes that conservative members wanted was the removal of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits requirements, which mandate a core set of services insurers must cover.
Spicer confirmed that for conservatives that was a major issue, adding that the primary concern of many members was bringing down costs.
“For a lot of these guys, it really comes down to premium increases,” he said. “They’re very concerned about what they’re seeing their constituents face.”
But when asked whether Trump would consider altering protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Spicer was adamant that wasn’t on the table. “That’s been something that he’s been very clear needs to stay in there,” he said.
At an earlier press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was critical of the Trump administration’s choice to try to bring the bill up for a vote before reaching enough of a consensus to pass it. Despite the president’s reputation as a great negotiator, she said, the move was a “rookie’s error.”
In another sign of trouble for Republicans, a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday found that 56% of American voters disapprove of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the ACA. Among Republicans, 41% support their party’s plan, while 24% oppose it.
In addition, 1 in 7 Americans thinks they will lose their health insurance under the Republican plan.