The vote on the GOP health care plan that would replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was delayed hours before it was set to go to the floor on Thursday.
The decision came shortly after a coalition of conservative in the House — known as the Freedom Caucus — announced that "no deal" had been reached with the White House over concerns about the health care plan. That announcement raised serious doubts about the prospect of passing the GOP's American Health Care Act (AHCA).
When the bill does come to a vote, it would only take 21 House Republicans to join Democrats and vote "no" for the measure to fail. The Freedom Caucus consists of three dozen members, most of whom have pledged to vote against the bill. Twelve other Republican have indicated that they would vote no, Politico reported.
Trump attempted to rally Republican skeptics of the AHCA this week, speaking to lawmakers in closed-door meetings and over the phone well into Wednesday night, according to CNN.
At the same time, an eleventh-hour push to amend the bill to appeal to its critics led to some significant changes, including a bid to eliminate mandatory coverage of essential health benefits such as hospitalizations, maternity care, and prescription drugs.
Such amendments were designed to win over members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, who felt Trump's health care proposal represented a watered down version of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA). But despite these changes, Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said there was "no deal" after meeting with White House officials Thursday morning.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was expected to bring the AHCA to a House vote Thursday evening. Asked whether there was a backup plan if the bill fails, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a press briefing, "No, it's going to pass, so that's it."
It's unclear how long the delay will take, though NPR reported that a House vote on the bill could take place as early as Friday.