President Donald Trump reportedly regrets placing a repeal of the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act at the top of his legislative agenda after assuming office in January. The president allegedly blamed the House Speaker, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, for convincing him that repealing the ACA would be easy with a GOP-majority Congress.
On Sept. 8, three Trump advisers who requested anonymity alleged that the president was privately angry that he pushed for an ultimately unsuccessful repeal of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, during the first months of his term and that he blamed Ryan for the decision, The Associated Press reports.
Congressional Republicans almost exclusively focused on dismantling the ACA during the first six months following Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20. On July 27, the GOP plan to repeal or replace the ACA met a setback when Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against a partial repeal of the health care law, according to The Daily Beast.
Trump and Ryan's working relationship has reportedly soured following the resignation of former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who had served as a mediator between the two.
On Sept. 5, Trump surprised GOP leadership when he agreed to a Democratic proposal to tie a three-month debt ceiling increase to a disaster relief package for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Ryan and the Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, had wanted the debt ceiling to be extended by 18 months to avoid a potential fiscal showdown before the 2018 midterms.
"A three-month debt ceiling?" GOP Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho told Politico. "Why not do a daily debt ceiling?"
The spending deal was widely perceived as a victory for congressional Democrats and infuriated GOP lawmakers. Several prominent conservatives asserted that both McConnell and Ryan were to blame for the deal.
"Mitch McConnell must be replaced, the Senate leadership must be replaced, and the same goes for the House," said Senate Conservatives Fund President Ken Cuccinelli in a statement, according to The Hill.
Several GOP lawmakers asserted that Trump would not have agreed to the Democrats' terms if Ryan had formulated a more complete plan for the debt ceiling.
"Lack of preparation leads to poor choices, and the fact that ... we weren’t here for six weeks, the longest non-election-year break we’ve had in a decade," GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said, referring to the congressional August recess, according to HuffPost. “That’s a problem.”
The conservative anger following the budget deal has reportedly sparked rumors that some GOP lawmakers will seek to replace Ryan as Speaker. GOP Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chairman of the influential House Freedom Caucus, has asserted that his colleagues have no plans to oust Ryan.
"I can tell you there is no plan, there is nothing there," said Meadows.
Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Tom Reed of New York believes that Ryan is struggling to quell the same divisions within his caucus that had prompted the ouster of his predecessor, former GOP Rep. John Boehner of Ohio.
"I think any speaker is going to have a very difficult time in this environment," said Reed, according to AP. "The nature of that job, I think, over time, they don't last."