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Trump Receives New Blow as Healthcare Bill Withdrawn | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One, returning to Washington from a weekend in Florida, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. March 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Washington – US President Donald Trump said he was disappointed with a decision by the conservative faction in the House of Representatives to block his legislation to overhaul the US healthcare system.

Speaking in the Oval Office on Saturday, Trump said: “We learned a lot about loyalty” from the effort.

He said the healthcare effort was a victim of staunch Democratic opposition and any future healthcare legislation would likely need Democratic support.

“We were just probably anywhere from 10 to 15 votes short,” Trump said. “With no Democrat support we couldn’t quite get there,” he added.

House of Representatives leaders pulled the bill due to lack of enough votes.

Republican moderates and the party’s most conservative lawmakers rejected the bill, in a blow to Trump’s first major legislative initiative since taking office on Jan 20.

The US president said he was surprised and “disappointed” by the opposition from the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservatives who prevented Republicans from using their majority in the House to pass the legislation.

On the other hand, Trump expressed confidence in House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was seen as the main backer of the legislation.

“I like Speaker Ryan. He worked very, very hard… He’s got a lot of factions. And there’s been a long history of liking and disliking, even within the Republican Party, long before I got here,” he said, adding: “I’m not going to speak badly about anybody within the party.”

Neither Trump nor Ryan indicated any plans to try to tackle healthcare legislation again anytime soon, according to Reuters.

Trump said he would turn his attention to getting “big tax cuts” through Congress, Reuters reported.