Congressional Republicans were dealt a huge setback Friday when, short of votes, they withdrew the bill from a vote in the House of Representatives.
Ever since then-President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law 7 years and one day ago, Republicans have made repealing it a cornerstone of their agenda.
Here’s a look at the different Republicans who have said 2017 is the year of repeal, although this is by no means an exhaustive list.
As a candidate, Trump’s stated desire to repeal Obamacare was ingrained into his speech, rhetoric that he retained after he was inaugurated.
“I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare,” he said at his address to Congress on February 28, one of his most high profile appearances since becoming President.
In a March 15 interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson after the first draft of the American Health Care Act had been unveiled, the President said he was confident Obamacare would be repealed, even without participation from the Democrats.
“If we could get some Democrat vote, we could change the bill. We could have it different. We could have a repeal, which really, essentially we have anyway. ”
The repeal was also the subject of several tweets.
House Speaker Paul Ryan
The architect of the American Health Care Act, House Speaker Paul Ryan has arguably been the face of the push to repeal Obamacare. But with a Republican majority in both the House and Senate, he has repeatedly said 2017 was the year it would happen.
“This is the closest we will ever get to repealing Obamacare,” he said on March 9. “The time is here, the time is now, this is the moment.”
“If you’re going to repair the American health care system and fix its problems, you have to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better: patient-centered health care — that is how you fix the system,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press in February, before any replacement legislation was introduced.
On March 19, less than a week before the bill was slated to be voted on in the House, Ryan said that, with the help of the President, he had gotten enough support.
“You’ve got to get 218 Republicans, who come from all different walks of life, to come together to agree on the best possible plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare,” he said on Fox News Sunday.
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on March 22, Ryan wrote, “Repeal of ObamaCare must happen, and urgently—not because of any ideology but because American families are already paying the price of the law’s collapse,” he wrote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Although the American Health Care Act never reached the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly expressed optimism Obamacare will be successfully repealed.
“We have an actual chance of achieving, repealing and replacing ObamaCare in connection with the administration. President Obama implemented a lot of ObamaCare himself, so President Trump will be able to undo a lot of it himself,” he said on Fox News Sunday in January.
That optimism was also on hand after the Senate passed a resolution to appeal Obamacare in early January. “The Senate just took an important step toward repealing and replacing Obamacare by passing the resolution that provides the legislative tools necessary to actually repeal this failed law while we move ahead with smarter health care policies,” he said in a statement.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
Priebus used similar rhetoric as McConnell, explaining that a majority of the repeal could come from a combination of an executive order and a congressional majority.
“I can’t put a percentage on it, but a lot of ‘Obamacare’ can be undone through executive order. That’s number one,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on January 25. “Between executive order, 51 votes reconciliation, Health and Human Services, you can get a lot repealed and replaced.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Two days before the scheduled healthcare vote, the House Majority Leader was touting the passage of the repeal.
“Thursday will be a big day. Thursday will be the day that we keep our word that we will repeal and replace [Obamacare] and continue on with phase two and phase three,” he said at a House Leadership press conference.
Even after the House postponed a vote Thursday, McCarthy had the following at the top of his Twitter account: “For seven years Obamacare has failed America. The time has come to repeal and replace it.