House Speaker Paul Ryan passed the buck during a Monday night town hall, blaming the Senate for the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Kevin Matthewson, a Republican out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, asked, “I had high hopes since you’re the speaker and my congressional representative. How have you not been successful up until this point as a leader to get this done like you promised?”
Speaker Ryan blamed the Senate, telling audience members that “we did pass” an Obamacare replace but the Senate failed.
Ryan contended, “We crafted a plan, we ran on the plan, and then we passed that plan in May. Who wasn’t disappointed that the Senate failed to pass that bill by one vote the other day? We all are.”
Ryan previously blamed the Senate for Congress’s inability to pass a Senate Obamacare repeal and replace bill. Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted against repealing Obamacare.
Ryan said right after the Senate Obamacare bill failed, “We’ve done this in the House — we passed our simultaneous repeal-and-replace bill. We think that’s the solution, we think that’s the best way to go, and so we’re just going to have to wait and hope that our friends in the Senate can figure out how they can get a bill passed, get it into conference, or whatever, and get something passed.”
Ironically, Speaker Ryan’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) failed after the Freedom Caucus and conservatives overwhelmingly opposed the original AHCA. Conservatives chided the bill for not repealing enough of Obamacare, labeling the legislation, “Ryancare” and “Obamacare-Lite.”
Ryan also blamed the Freedom Caucus for failing to support the House leadership’s bill.
“There is a bloc of No-votes that we had; that is why this didn’t pass,” Ryan admitted after he pulled the AHCA’s vote in March. “We were close. Some of the members of that caucus were voting with us, but not enough.”
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) stepped up and brokered a revised version of the bill, known as the MacArthur amendment, along with Tuesday Group co-chairman Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). The addition of the amendment garnered enough Republican support to pass the bill.
Meadows’ efforts in no small part seem to have succeeded where Ryan failed, rallying his House Republican colleagues behind a years-long campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare–despite the fact that this bill does not constitute a full repeal of the previous president’s signature law. House Republicans were able to pass the AHCA because of Meadows and MacArthur, not because of Speaker Paul Ryan.
Mathewson, while waiting in line for the Ryan town hall, said that he does not want Ryan to pass the buck. He charged, “Don’t pass the buck onto the Senate and say, ‘We did our job.”