- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2017

A conservative group called for the ouster of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and the rest of the GOP leadership team Friday afternoon, just hours after they saw their Obamacare repeal effort crash and burn.

David Bozell, president of ForAmerica, said Republicans had eight years to fashion a repeal bill and a GOP replacement, and the first time they were in a position to hold a substantive vote on their plan they failed.

“Not only does the leadership lack the political will, it demonstrates a consistent inability to market conservative principles and policy,” Mr. Bozell said.

Mr. Ryan pulled the health bill from the schedule rather than face a vote he was going to lose.

President Trump said they were 10 to 15 votes shy of the majority needed to pass it. Rather than force their troops to take a tough stand, he and Mr. Ryan decided to cancel the vote.

Conservatives and moderates alike were skeptical of the legislation.

In the wake of the failure, a number of conservatives pinned blame on Mr. Ryan and his leadership team — but deflected blame from Mr. Trump, saying he did everything in his power to sell the legislation Mr. Ryan wrote.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, said congressional leaders wrote their bill “in secret” and then tried to force it on lawmakers — a mistake he said has been repeated time and again.

“If I were the president I wouldn’t deal with health care anymore, but as legislators it is a problem and we should pick it right back up, do it the right way, get everybody with a different interest in the room together,” Mr. Gohmert said.

Mr. Trump, though, praised Mr. Ryan for his efforts and said the hiccup was hardline conservatives who were unwilling to compromise.

Mr. Ryan also got a vote of confidence from Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican who is seen as a potential speaker in the future.

“Our conference is blessed to be led by a great conservative like Paul Ryan,” Mr. Hensarling said. “He’s a man of impeccable integrity who has an unyielding passion for the cause of freedom. He showed phenomenal leadership and negotiated in good faith throughout this process.”

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