President Donald Trump indicated in comments following the withdrawal of the American Health Care Act March 24 that he was not giving up on repealing Obamacare.
Trump told reporters he still had lots of time to accomplish one of his central election campaign promises, Politico reported.
Republicans pulled the bill before a vote in the House, when it became clear they did not have the votes necessary to guarantee its passage.
"I guess I'm here what, 64 days? I never said repeal and replace Obamacare -- you've all heard my speeches -- I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days," said Trump, according to Politico. "I have a long time."
The president blamed Democrats for the bill's failure.
"We were very close, and it was a very, very tight margin," he added. "We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren't gonna give us a single vote so it's a very difficult thing to do."
Despite the defeat, Trump defended the proposed legislation and said there would have been opportunities to improve it during the legislative process.
"A lot of people don't realize how good our bill was because they were viewing phase one," he said.
However, he remained optimistic for the future, arguing that the current setup was unsustainable:
Perhaps the best thing that could happen is exactly what happened today because we'll end up with a truly great health care bill in the future after this mess known as Obamacare explodes. ... We all learned a lot. We learned a lot about loyalty. We learned a lot about the vote-getting process. We learned a lot about some very archaic rules in obviously both the Senate and in the House. Certainly for me it's been a very interesting experience. But in the end, I think it's gonna be an experience that leads to an even better health care plan.
Democrats adopted a much more upbeat tone.
"The defeat of the disastrous Trump-Ryan health care bill is a major victory for working families and everyone who stood up in opposition," Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said, according to The Independent.
"The bill's defeat shows Americans won't accept huge tax breaks for billionaires while 24 million people are kicked off health insurance," Sanders added.
Sanders outlined a different approach to Obamacare than that of Trump.
"Our job is to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it. Our job is to guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege," he said.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader in the House, also criticized the Republicans' inability to get the bill passed.