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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Republican Health Care Bill Failure; Speaker Ryan Comments After Health Care Bill Pulled; Start of Pelosi Remarks on Health Care Bill. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired March 24, 2017 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:00]

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can feel the air is thicker.

And, frankly,down the hall from where we are right now, waiting for the House speaker's press conference, the Republican members have had a meeting. And I just came from where the floor was, our colleagues Deirdre Walsh and Manu Raju and others, are over by the meeting.

And they are reporting very grim faces, a very deep sense of disappointment, and understanding of what this means. And, as you said, if we can just take a step back and talk about what this means, this was the fundamental, major promise election after election after election that won the House of Representatives for Republicans in 2010, that won the Senate for Republicans as well, that helped win the White House for this Republican president.

And here we are, not even 100 days in to President Trump's administration, and what the speaker is telling his rank and file right now -- and Manu Raju just had this reporting -- I'm looking at his text right now -- that not only is this dead. He believes and his intention is to move on from health care for the rest of this Congress.

It is really stunning, stunning to think about that, to take a step back and wrap your head around the idea that these Republicans and the House of Representatives voted 60-some times over and over again for show votes, saying that they're going to repeal Obamacare, and obviously knowing at the time that it was not possible because there was a man named Obama in the White House who would never sign such a thing.

Now there isn't, and they're not going to get this done.

And I should tell you, just by way of process of how this finally went down in this unbelievably dramatic few hours, at 3:00, we are told by a leadership aide -- and Phil Mattingly had this reporting earlier -- that the president told the House speaker, I'm pulling the bill, that is the best course of action -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Dana Bash, stay with me.

I want to go right now to CNN's Manu Raju, who is live right outside the conference room, where Speaker Ryan met with House Republicans. We are expecting Speaker Ryan to come out. And we will bring that to you live.

But, until that, Manu, what are you hearing from your position?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right.

Actually, those were the exact words from Paul Ryan, time to move on. That's what we're hearing member after member who left this meeting. It was a very, very brief meeting. But it was a sign that they're done negotiating. It's time to move on to other issues and put health care behind them.

I had a chance to talk to Andy Barr, congressman from Kentucky, who said that essentially means health care is dead for this Congress.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Health care is dead for this Congress?

REP. ANDY BARR (R), KENTUCKY: Well, you never say never. Don't know if it will be permanently, but I think for the time being, sure sounds that way.

RAJU: Who is to blame for this?

BARR: You know, I don't know if there is anyone to blame for this. I will say this, that the president and our leadership did a great job in having an open process.

I advocated for amendments, many of my colleagues did. In all factions of our conference, in the Tuesday Group, in the RSC and in the Freedom Caucus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: But, Jake, I can tell you there is palpable frustration with two wings of the Republican Party, particularly the right wing of the party, the House Freedom Caucus. Efforts to try to get them to back this bill failed. Negotiations to change this bill to move it to the right could not get these members on board.

And trying to win over those moderates at the same time in that so- called Tuesday Group proved to be futile. So, this just showed how difficult, how divided this conference is over a fundamental issue.

And there is a lot of frustration, finger-pointing and about how this went down, and whether or not they could have done a better job of selling this going forward, not just to the conference, but to the public, but significant disappointment from members who are leaving this room after failing to deliver on their central campaign promise -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, stick around. Thanks so much. Let's go back to CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

And, Dana, obviously, what we just heard from the Republican congressman there praising President Trump, praising the House leadership, we're going to hear a lot of that on camera, but, off camera, we're going to hear a lot of finger-pointing, a lot of blame about why this colossal failure was allowed to happen.

It is a big deal for such a momentous vote to be pulled twice two days in a row.

BASH: Pulled twice with no end in sight, with no vote in sight.

And, as you just heard from Manu, and we will hear from the speaker here, it really sounds like they want to move on to other issues. And you talked about, you know, the public vs. the private. Let's be clear, the blame game is already happening.

My phone is blowing up. I bet yours is, too, Jake. And it started a couple of days ago, as they saw this incredibly messy, unbelievably messy process going down. And what does that mean?

[16:05:04]

It means we're hearing from conservatives, saying the House speaker didn't do enough to bring us in early in the process. You're hearing from conservatives saying, well, you should have started with a bill that was more conservative, that the speaker effectively negotiated with himself by putting forward something that wasn't conservative enough, knowing that it would have to be watered down, from a conservative perspective, as it went to the Senate.

And then, of course, you have a lot of blame on those very conservatives. I got an e-mail from I would say somebody who I would call a longtime GOP establishment figure, saying, are you kidding me? These Republican Freedom Caucus members, the ones who effectively shut down the government a few years ago because they were demanding a vote to repeal Obamacare, which they knew would never become law at the time, and now they're the ones who are holding out a vote on a piece of legislation that would have gone a very large step to doing just that?

Those are just some of the things we're already hearing from these Republicans. A lot of praise for the president, saying he did get involved, he did his best, he did as good as he could given the circumstances. But, you know, look, what is the saying that victory has 1,000 fathers and defeat has none?

This is that on steroids, Jake. It is unbelievable, how much we are hearing so much bitterness and concern because of what this means. Again, just to reiterate, it bears repeating, this has been the key Republican promise in campaign after campaign, repeal Obamacare, and now they're saying, we can't even figure out how to get it on the floor of the House, the Republican-led House, and we're punting.

TAPPER: Dana Bash, stay with me. And while we wait for House Speaker Paul Ryan, I also want to tell you

that we are expecting to bring you comments from President Trump as well about this defeat. The president has had a rocky couple months as president, but this is perhaps his worst day on Capitol Hill, certainly the worst week of his presidency, I think, it's fair to say.

Gloria Borger, let me go with you. And you will preemptively -- I apologize when I have to interrupt any of our panelists here for when Speaker Ryan comes out.

But Dana referred to the old saying popularized by John F. Kennedy that success has 1,000 fathers and failure is an orphan.

In Washington, D.C., a lot of accusations of paternity, so why don't you tell me, who do you think bears the brunt for this failure?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that, in the end, it's going to be the president of the United States is in charge. The buck stops there.

And he may want to blame the Democrats, as he will, and the -- there are going to be people at the White House who are already pointing knives towards Paul Ryan, because he didn't do this the right way.

TAPPER: Sure.

BORGER: But let's just step back for a minute and look at what a disaster this is for the president.

I mean, this isn't even his first hundred days. He wanted to get this through. And clearly he has already said to us, you know, well, maybe I should have done tax reform and I didn't do tax reform.

TAPPER: Except they need the money from the repeal of Obamacare to do tax reform.

BORGER: Exactly. Exactly.

But if you look back on this, so, health care hasn't happened. Their travel ban has been held up in the courts. He didn't rip up the Iran nuclear deal on day one, as he promised. The wall, who is going to pay for it? Mexico says no.

And, by the way, the administration itself is under a cloud, with the FBI director appearing before Congress and saying that there was an ongoing investigation about whether there was cooperation between Trump operatives and the Russians.

TAPPER: Only four days ago, by the way.

BORGER: Right, only four days ago. So, if you take this in its entirety, and you take a look at it, you say, this is not going well. This is not going the way the White House envisioned.

And this is a president who wants to win. And Paul Ryan had to go to him and say, look, I know you had an ultimatum, I know you want a vote today, but listen to me. If you were to lose this, it would be even worse for you, and let me tell you why, because the House itself could be in peril.

TAPPER: And President Trump used to say as a candidate, there is going to be so much winning, you're going to get sick of winning. You're going to get so tired of all the winning. I don't know that I feel that. I don't know that I'm tired of all the winning. And I can't imagine that the president is.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, on the bright side, they failed together, so unity.

TAPPER: You're such an optimistic person.

HAM: No, I think this is undoubtedly a loss for them.

I do think there was an argument for this bill three days ago, before it got rushed and a bunch of stuff added to it. But there are real problems with the situation we have right now.

TAPPER: Obamacare is not in a good place. It does need fixing.

HAM: And passing health care reform is really hard, because, as Jim was noting earlier, arguing that you're going to take certain things way from people, especially after an entitlement was given, that is why it was so important for Republicans to have defeated back it was first issued.

[16:10:10]

And everyone knows that the way you sell a health care program to the American people is to lie through your teeth about how nothing is going to change, everything is going to be awesome, and then have a bunch people back you up about that, and then let the fallout come.

That's what happened to Obamacare. To the Republicans' credit, they weren't lying through their teeth about what this would bring. I appreciate that and them not telling anybody that they would never lose their plans, which was never true.

But I don't see them getting to another vote on this closer to election. It's always going to be a tough vote.

TAPPER: Jen Psaki, I will let you have a response to that, but we are expecting Speaker Ryan to come out any second.

So, I don't want to cut you off. So, just hold that thought and your response in defense of Obamacare.

John King, in the few seconds we have left before Speaker Ryan comes out, he's usually pretty punctual, the people at the White House have been blaming Paul Ryan, as Gloria pointed out. Is that fair?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I just got a text from one, actually saying, "We were suckered into a trap."

TAPPER: Oh.

Admiral Akbar.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: Admiral Akbar came -- makes an appearance.

KING: But it's you just -- you made the right point at the top of the show.

Listen, there is a lot of blame to go around here. We will see if they can recover from this. But we just had an election in which Donald Trump first won a Republican primary no one thought he had a prayer of winning, then was the presidency in an election no one thought he had a prayer of winning. Why?

He said he was going to change Washington. He said he was going to fix things. He said he alone was capable with the business experience. You mentioned health care. This is what he said in his announcement speech: "We have to repeal Obamacare, and we can do it. I have dealt with politicians all my life. If you can't make a good deal with a politician, then there is something wrong with you. You're certainly not very good."

Well, on this day, the president of the United States is not very good. And he began the week by his own words, and he began the week with a 37 percent approval rating. We have one example of this in recent history, when Bill Clinton tried to pass health care. And it collapsed.

Look what happened to his party in the next midterm election. Will that happen this time? Who knows? We live in a new Washington with new rules. But this was a president who said, I will change Washington, I can do business, I can get things done. The politicians don't get this. I do.

He failed his first big test.

TAPPER: This idea, David Chalian, the president was suckered in, I think Brit Hume, one of our friends at FOX News, said this paints a picture of Paul Ryan as this Svengali character and President Trump kind of a dolt.

That's not a fair or accurate depiction at all. Why would the White House be putting that forward?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And not how President Trump would ever portray himself, right?

But Kellyanne Conway also just stated, well, this was Ryan's bill. So, this is trying to...

TAPPER: He wrote it with Tom Price, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

CHALIAN: I think in the larger picture here, his 100-day mark is upcoming now. It's not just this that is a complete body blow and a real failure in the administration.

Here's Paul Ryan.

TAPPER: Here's House Speaker Paul Ryan. Let's listen in.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You have all heard me say this before.

Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains. And, well, we're feeling those growing pains today. We came really close today, but we came up short.

I spoke to the president just a little while ago, and I told him that the best thing I think to do is to pull this bill. And he agreed with that decision.

I will not sugarcoat this. This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard. All of us, all of us, myself included, we will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, what we could have done to do it better.

But, ultimately, this all kind of comes down to a choice. Are all of us willing to give a little to get something done? Are we willing to say yes to the good, to the very good, even if it's not the perfect?

Because, if we're willing to do that, we still have such an incredible opportunity in front of us. There remains so much that we can do to help improve people's lives, and we will, because that's -- I have got to tell you, that's why I'm here. And I know it's why every member of this conference is here, to make this a better country.

We want American families to feel more confident in their life -- in life. We want the next generation to know that, yes, the best days of this country are still ahead of us.

I'm really proud of the bill that we produced. It would make a dramatic improvement in our health care system and provide relief by people hurting under Obamacare.

And what's probably most troubling is, the worst is yet to come with Obamacare. I am also proud of the long, inclusive, member-driven process that we had. Any member who wanted to engage constructively, to offer ideas, to improve this bill, they could.

And I want to thank so many members who helped make this bill better. A lot of our members put a lot of hard work into this. I also want to thank the president. I want to thank the vice president. I want to thank Tom Price, Mick Mulvaney, and the entire White House team.

The president gave his all in this effort. He did everything he possibly could to help people see the opportunity that we have with this bill. He's really been fantastic.

Still, we got to do better. And we will. I absolutely believe that. This is a setback, no two ways about it. But it is not the end of the story, because I know that every man and woman in this conference is now motivated more than ever to step up our game, to deliver on our promises.

[16:15:00] REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is a setback, no two ways about it. But it is not the end of the story, because I know that every man and woman in this conference is now motivated more than ever to step up our game, to deliver on our promises. I know that everyone is committed to seizing this incredible opportunity that we have and I sure am.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) One is, talk about real people. Now, you've got a long book that you guys don't like, the White House doesn't like. But it's going to be the law. Do you plan to try to help it along and prop it up, or do you plan to let it wither --

RYAN: That's the problem. I worry -- the question is, we kind of prop it along and try and prop it up. It is so fundamentally flawed I don't know that that is possible.

What we're really worried about is and you've heard me say this all along is the coming premium increases that are coming with a death spiraling health care system. That is my big concern. We just didn't quite get consensus today. What we have is a member-driven process to try and get consensus. We came very close, but we did not get that consensus.

That's why I thought the wise thing to do is not proceed with a vote, but to pull the bill and see what we can do. But I don't think the law as it is fashioned or anything close to it is really going to be able to survive.

REPORTER: Will you work on legislation now --

RYAN: We're going to see. We're going to go back and figure out what the next steps are.

REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, can you explain if it is the conservatives of the Freedom Caucus who effectively drove out your predecessor, Boehner? Are they responsible for the defeat here today?

RYAN: Well, I don't want to cast blame. There is a bloc of no votes that we had that is why this didn't pass. They were a sufficient number of votes that prevented it from passing and they didn't change their votes. We were close.

Some of the members of that caucus were voting with us, but not enough were, and therefore -- and I met with their chairman earlier today and he made it clear to me that the votes weren't going to be there from their team and that was sufficient to provide the votes, the balance to not have this bill pass. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Speaker, you all

swept the house, won the majority with a promise to repeal Obamacare. The majority in the Senate with the promise to repeal Obamacare. The White House with the promise to repeal Obamacare. How do you go home to your constituents and send all of your members home to their constituents saying, you know what, it's not even 100 days into the administration, sorry, folks, we just can't figure it out?

RYAN: Dana, it's a good question. I wish I had a better question for you. I really believe Obamacare is a law that is collapsing, it's hurting families. It's not working. It was designed in a fundamentally flawed way. We believe this bill was the best way to go, but we just didn't quite get the consensus to get there.

REPORTER: Two questions for you if you don't mind. One, the bottom line is Obamacare right now remains the law of the land. Is that going to change in 2017?

RYAN: Yes, I don't know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land. It's going to remain the law of the land until it's replaced. We did not have quite the votes to replace this law.

And, so, yes, we're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law. My worry is Obamacare is going to be getting even worse.

Actually, I think we were probably doing the Democrats a favor. I think we were doing the architects of Obama a favor by passing this law before it gets even worse. Well, I guess that favor is not going to be given to them and it's going to get worse.

So, I don't think the architects of Obamacare, I'm sure they may be pleased right now, but when they see how bad this thing gets, based on all the projections we're being told by the plans that are participating in Obamacare, I don't think they're going to like that either.

Look, five states, you have one plan left, one choice. Over a third of the counties in America, one plan left. And the kinds of projections we're being told from the people providing health insurance to these people in plans, it's going to get even worse.

And, so, I don't think the architects of Obamacare envisioned this future. It's certainly not one we want for the American people. And I wish we had the kind of consensus we needed to bring a bill to the floor to pass and replace it. But we just don't have that right now.

REPORTER: Mr. Speaker --

RYAN: Chad?

REPORTER: Thank you. What about the political capital that was burned today? You have to keep the government open and about five weeks the debt ceiling, still do tax reform. I know you say this part was integral to get to that part. How much capital did you burn on this today and how does that potentially injure those other bills?

RYAN: I think our members know we did everything we could to get consensus. This is how governing works when you're in the majority. We need to get 216 people to agree with each other to write legislation. Not 210, not 215.

We need 216 people in the House to agree with each other on how to write a piece of legislation. We didn't have 216 people. We were close, but we did not have 216 people. And that's how legislating works.

And, so, now we're going to move on with the rest of our agenda because we have big ambitious plans to improve people's lives in this country. We want to secure the border. We want to rebuild our military. We want to get the deficit under control. We want infrastructure and we want tax reform.

[16:20:01] The last question you asked about tax reform, Chad, yes, this does make tax reform more difficult, but it does not in in way make it impossible. We will proceed with tax reform. We will continue with tax reform.

That's an issue I know quite a bit about. I used to run that committee. I spoke with the president, the treasury and his advisors about tax reform. We are going to proceed with tax reform.

This makes it clearly more difficult. You know how the numbers work. It's about a trillion dollars, but that just means the Obamacare taxes stay with Obamacare. We're going to fix the rest of the tax code.

REPORTER: But you don't think what is passed is cruel, this portends bad things?

RYAN: I don't think this is prologue for other future things because members realize there are other parts of our agenda that people have even more agreement on on what to achieve. We have even more agreement on the need and the nature of tax reform on funding the government, on rebuilding the military, on securing the border. This issue had a big difference of opinion not whether we should repeal and replace Obamacare, but just how we should replace it.

And that is the growing pains of governing. We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do. You just had to be against it. And now, in three months' time, we tried to go to a governing party where we actually had to get 216 people to agree with each other on how we do things and we weren't just quite there today. We will get there, but we weren't there today.

Yes?

REPORTER: I just had something. I wonder if you're going to move ahead with things two and three -- HHS phase two and hear what phase three legislation, and also if you can just talk about how the conference is doing right now.

RYAN: The conference is disappointed. The conference -- we were on the cusp of fulfilling a promise that we made. We were on the cusp of achieving an ambition that we've all had for seven years and we came a little short. We were close, but not quite there.

On your other issues, this bill would have made what we call phase two much, much better. Nevertheless, I think there are some things that the secretary of HHS can do to try and sort of stabilize things, but really we need this bill to make it better. For instance, risk pools, we believe the smarter way to help people with preexisting conditions get affordable coverage while bringing down the health care costs for everybody else is through reinsurance risk or risk sharing pools which this bill supplied for the states. That is not now going to happen and therefore, he won't be able to deploy that policy tool that we think is better than Obamacare.

So, we do lose a lot of the tools we wanted to help improve people's lives and bring down health care costs in this country. Thank you very much.

REPORTER: Do you have confidence in the whip Steve Scalise?

RYAN: Yes, I do.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: House Speaker Paul Ryan trying to put a good face on an ignominious defeat, saying the failure for the Republicans to come up with a bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare is an example of their growing pains, going from the minority to the majority, saying that they, quote, "just didn't quite get consensus today," unquote. Although he did also acknowledge Obamacare is the law of the land.

Robert Costa was on the phone with President Trump just minutes ago and he said the bill will not be coming up any time in the near future and Trump will wait for Democrats to come to him.

Let's discuss this all with our panel.

David Gergen, there is an opportunity, it would seem, for President Trump to try to strike a deal, the consummate deal maker, with Democrats and maybe some of the moderate Republicans to actually repair and fix some of the problems with Obamacare.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's right. But I think it's a bigger opening actually for the Democrats. Yes, they haven't been heard from, they've been quite silent during all of this.

But now what he's saying is Obamacare, we're going to let that go into a death spiral. The Democrats can come back and say, look, we have saved Obamacare. The country is breathing more easily. There are millions of Americans out there who are triumphant tonight that they were saved. But we acknowledge there are problems in Obamacare and we would like to work with you, Mr. President, and come and workout some fixes.

If he then refuses to work with them, which I think there is a good chance he would, they are in a position to say, we tried, we tried to fix these things. And you guys wouldn't cooperate. Don't blame it on us. You guys wouldn't come to the table. You failed and one of your major pledges to the American people, you abysmally failed and now you won't come to help fix it?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think he declines to come to the table, though.

GERGEN: Oh, oh, oh.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: H is problem there would be Ryan and McConnell because the very people who blocked the vote today, they ran on repeal. Not replace. They wanted open market system. They just want repeal. They're not interested in replace.

So, if you're going to cut that deal, make a grand bargain on health care, that means the Republicans have to say, we want to fix Obamacare.

TAPPER: Let's take a quick moment to go to CNN's Phil Mattingly who was in the room there with Speaker Ryan. We heard what Ryan said publicly. You were also in the room when he was meeting with House Republicans behind closed doors?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was talking to sources in that room, Jake. This message was it wasn't a bluff. We were all taken aback when he made clear they're moving on from Obamacare from repealing Obamacare what they promised campaign after campaign after campaign.

I can tell you, if we thought it was jarring, the members inside the room did ten times that. In the message to leadership to those members after they fell short, very far short I'm told of the 216 votes they need to move forward was, the president is done, the president told you last night he would be done and now we are moving on.

This thing we campaigned on, this issue that we won elections and majorities on as Dana asked to the speaker just a few moments ago, it's clear that it's time to move on and there is no turning back at this point. There are no plans. There are no secondary bills that are planned.

The president himself has instructed the House and the leadership to move forward and that is exactly what is going to happen. That was the message that was delivered to the members of the Republican conference just a short while ago, Jake.

TAPPER: Go to Jen Psaki here on the panel with us. Thank you, Phil.

You were at the White House and defending and promoting Obamacare was a big part of your job for many years. Are you surprised that the Republicans, when the dog finally caught the cab, that it wasn't actually able to -- didn't know what to do with it?

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, if you would have asked me in November if Obamacare would be dead by now, I would have said yes, sadly. I think this issue they're looking at now, if your refrigerator is broken, you're not going to burn down your house, you're going to buy a new refrigerator. They tried to burn down the house and people didn't like that.

So, if there is a better option Republicans have for getting more competition in the market place, they should put that forward. Democrats, including Obama, Sanders, Clinton supported public option. That's not something that many Republicans support. It may be hard to get there, but I think the bigger problem right now for Trump and even Ryan is that success begets success. That has always been the case in Washington.

And tax reform is incredibly hard. That's why it hasn't happened for 30 years. It was probably in at least six of President Obama's State of the Union Addresses. And Trump promised a 15 percent tax rate for corporations. They also aren't getting the savings which you touched on that they were depending on.

So, they're going to have to pay, if they want to get rid of ACA taxes, they're going to have to pay $600 billion in tax reform. That's really hard and we may be seeing the same movie in just a couple weeks or months that we're seeing now.

TAPPER: Symone Sanders?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Jake, I think it is important to note any failures going forward that has to do with Obamacare are in fact on the hands of Donald Trump and the Republican leadership. They are in charge. You are literally in charge of Washington right now and you can't get anything done. That's not only embarrassing, that has real live implications come 2017-2018 when we come around to the midterm.

So, I think this finger-pointing about who is to blame, they are all collectively -- have blood on their hands where this is concerned.

TAPPER: Republicans absolutely control the House and the Senate, CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill right now talking to some of the House Republicans.

What is the reaction that you are hearing, Manu, to the bill being pulled?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Sheer disappointment, Jake. Even from folks who did not support this bill. Of course, the party has been united over that central campaign pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, but disappointment that there could be no consensus even from conservatives like Justin Amash of Michigan saying he's upset they could not come to terms. Even people who did support the bill, including Steve Womack from Arkansas who I just talked to said what other people are saying. The Republican Party has not learned how to be a governing party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE WOMACK (R), ARKANSAS: This is going to be an ongoing leadership challenge for the governing majority. We are a very diverse conference. We have moderates and we have ultra conservative people within our conference. We are going to have to reeducate ourselves in mathematics and basic arithmetic that we are going to be stronger when we are united and 218 votes is going to be necessary to accomplish many of the things that we have on our legislative agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: All right. Nancy Pelosi is speaking right now. Let's go to that live. She's the House Democratic leader.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The Affordable Care Act, yesterday as you know, was the seven-year anniversary of the president signing the bill. And the American people expressed their support for it. That message became very clear to our colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle.

Today is a great day for our country. It's a victory. What happened on the floor is a victory for the American people, for our seniors, for people with disabilities, for our children, for our veterans.

Also, it's not just about the 24 million people who now won't have -- be off of health insurance. It's about the 155 million people who receive their health benefits in the workplace who will not be assaulted to buy some of the provisions that the Republicans put in the bill, especially last night when they removed the essential benefits package. So, again, it's pretty exciting for us.