Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET
Republicans are once again waving the white flag on health care.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced shortly that he is pulling the Republican health care bill because it does not have the votes.
Rather than endure another embarrassing vote that sees his caucus come up short, the senators agreed in a closed-door meeting to shelve the bill.
It’s another chapter in months of GOP failure to unite on a replacement of the current health care law, the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare — despite a years-long galvanizing conservative push to do so.
Before the announcement, President Trump expressed disappointment in the direction it was all headed.
“[A’t some point,” Trump said at the White House, “there will be a repeal and replace. … But we are disappointed in certain so-called Republicans.”
Three Republicans came out against the bill — Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Republicans could lose only two senators for the bill to pass through the budget process of reconciliation, which allows for a majority vote instead of the 60-vote threshold ordinarily needed to end a filibuster.
The legislation suffered a fatal blow Monday night when Collins declared her opposition. Collins lambasted the bill in a statement, citing her problems with the bill as three-fold: “sweeping changes and cuts” to Medicaid, weakening “protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” and that it “would lead to higher premiums and reduced coverage for tens of millions of Americans.”
The GOP bill would have fundamentally overhauled Medicaid from an open-ended federal guarantee to a system that caps funds to the states but would have given them more flexibility on how they spent those dollars.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said he and House Republicans were “a little frustrated the Senate has not acted on a seminal promise.”
Ryan noted that his conference had done its job, passing legislation in May.
Instead, congressional leaders and the president are ready to move on to overhauling the tax code.
They are set to unveil a “framework” for their legislation Wednesday.