WASHINGTON – In a rare move, House Republicans pulled their own health care bill from the floor Wednesday after failing to secure enough votes to ensure its passage.
The bill offered a lifeline to a main feature of President Obama’s health care overhaul - affordable coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions -- after it ran into strong opposition from both conservatives and Democrats.
The legislation is a departure from past GOP efforts to kill the Affordable Health Care Act outright, and faced a White House veto threat.
Democrats are against it because it would bail out the struggling program to help those with pre-existing conditions get insurance by raiding a disease prevention provision the administration says is essential.
Conservative groups also urged Republicans to vote against it, saying it perpetuated the federal role in health care. Some said they felt the bill “embraced” Obamacare.
The measure was a pet project of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia whose office pledged to keep working on the bill.
“We had positive conversations today and made good progress,” Cantor spokesman Doug Heye told Fox News later in the day. “We remain focused on stopping the biggest entitlement expansion in a generation.”
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s office said they had made “a lot of solid progress.”
“There's still work to do and with Members leaving town for the Bush Library dedication in Texas, we'll continue the conversations after the district work period,” Erica Elliott said.
Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.