House Republicans narrowly pass bill
The United States Congress has passed a bill that repeals and replaces Obamacare.
However, despite the passage of the bill, Obamacare is still a long way off from being replaced.
The bill now goes to the US Senate, where massive changes are expected. Republicans in the Senate have said the House bill will not pass the Senate in its current form, meaning a Senate re-write is coming.
After that re-write – which could take some time in the notoriously deliberative Senate – the bill will go back to the House, where Republicans will somehow need to get their fractious caucus to agree.
A short-term win for Trump
While true repeal of Obamacare is still some way off – and by no means certain – the repeal bill is a win for US President Donald Trump. He needed some sort of legislative “win,” to create a sense of momentum for future legislation – such as tax reform. He also utilized his reputation as a negotiator to convince worried Republicans to vote for the bill, which will helps fulfill a campaign promise made by both Trump, and the Republicans in the House and Senate.
Seeking to capitalize on the repeal vote, Trump tweeted that an event will be held in the Rose Garden of the White House with House members. This is the opening salvo in an upcoming messaging war, where Republicans and Democrats will fight to define what the repeal and replace vote means.
If victorious, Republicans will be having a big press conference at the beautiful Rose Garden of the White House immediately after vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2017
The bill is also a win for Paul Ryan, who has been facing intense criticism over the slow progress of the Republican legislative agenda. Had the vote failed, his position as Speaker of the House would have been heavily compromised.