White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on Sunday acknowledged that Democrats are not the culprits in Republicans’ failed ObamaCare overhaul bill, saying it’s time for the GOP to “start governing.”
“You’re right,” Priebus said to questions on “Fox News Sunday” about President Trump calling out Democrats after the bill died Friday in the GOP-controlled House amid insufficient GOP support.
“At the end of the day, it’s time for the party to start governing,” Priebus continued. “I also think though, that Democrats can come to the table as well.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., canceled the vote on the bill upon realizing he was about 20 votes shy of the minimum 216, amid strong opposition from the roughly 35-member, conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Trump said afterward, “We have no Democratic support. We have no votes from them. They weren’t going to give us a single vote.”
On Saturday, Trump hinted that overhauling ObamaCare is still alive, perhaps through bringing Democrats into the process, with widespread bipartisan concern about the 2010 health care law’s increasing costs and fewer insurance policy options for Americans.
“ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great health care plan for THE PEOPLE,” Trump tweeted. “Do not worry!”
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, later Saturday seemed open to such discussions, acknowledging that ObamaCare indeed has problems, including too few tax credits for poor Americans to help them pay for the insurance.
“ObamaCare is not perfect. We need to fix things,” he said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “This is all fixable if we sit down as reasonable people.”
Priebus also told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump was “100 percent correct” in a tweet earlier in the morning in which the president blamed the Freedom Caucus along with Washington conservative groups Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation for nixing the overhaul bill, crafted by Ryan and his leadership team.
“We can't be chasing the perfect all the time,” Priebus said. “Sometimes you have to take good and put it in your pocket and take the win. … I think it's time for our folks to come together. And I also think it's [time] to potentially get a few moderate Democrats on board.”
Still, Priebus acknowledged that Trump has an ambitious policy agenda that includes tax reform and perhaps an infrastructure bill on which he’ll need support from conservatives.
“We’ll give these guys another chance,” he said.