WASHINGTON, DC — House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled his American Health Care Act from the floor of the house on Friday afternoon before a vote could be held. Despite last minute amendments and pressure from President Donald Trump, Ryan could not assemble the votes needed to pass the repeal of major Affordable Care Act provisions.
The last minute derailment of a vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 has made clear some serious fault lines between Trump and various factions within the Republican Party.
North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones has spoken out against House Speaker Paul Ryan’s AHCA for the past week. Jones cited disproportionate reduction of services for the rural poor, the increased costs for seniors and veterans and the bill’s unpopular status across the political spectrum.
Jones was a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act, and voted repeatedly to repeal it, as well as to defund Planned Parenthood. However, the Congressman said Republicans were now making the same mistakes he had criticized the Democrats for.
“Now in 2017, for reasons I cannot understand, instead of moving a bill to repeal Obamacare and replace it with reforms that will fix our broken health care system, the Washington Republican leadership is trying to jam a bill through the House that does neither.
“Furthermore, the rushed, behind-closed-doors process they’ve used is shameful,” Jones said. “Seven years ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said of the Obamacare bill: ‘You have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it.’ Sadly, the Washington Republican leadership is repeating the same mistakes.”
Jones’ statement continues to distance him from Ryan and his AHCA plan. Jones first voiced concerns with the plan while it was in its embryonic state in January. Shortly after Congressional Republicans began putting forward plans to scrap the Affordable Care Act, Congressman Jones told Port City Daily he would not vote for a budget reconciliation or other move that attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it.
“For me, they will have to have a replacement bill before I could vote. Otherwise you’re asking for chaos. It would have to, at the very least, be a serious outline and some major details,” Jones said at the time.
Jones has also distanced himself from Trump; though supportive of Trump during his campaign and first weeks in office, the congressman has tempered his enthusiasm.
On Feb 21, Jones’ office confirmed that Jones had signed the “Protecting Our Democracy Act” (HR 356), a Democrat-sponsored bill that would create an independent investigation into alleged Russian tampering with the 2016 election. Jones was the first Republican to sign onto the bill, though he declined at the time to comment further on the issue.