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US Republican-controlled House passes bill to repeal Obamacare

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-05 09:06

US Republican-controlled House passes bill to repeal Obamacare

US President Donald Trump speaks with House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (L) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) behind him as Trump gathered with Congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden of the White House after the House of Representatives approved the American Healthcare Act, to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, in Washington, US, May 4, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - As a sudden but predicted victory for US President Donald Trump, Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday pushed through a new version of American Health Care Act aimed to repeal and replace Obamacare, by 217 to 213 votes.

The bill was passed in the House with only one more vote than needed. All Democrats voted against the bill on the House floor, while 20 Republicans voted no. The Obamacare repeal, one of Trump's key campaign promises, would usher in sweeping changes to the US health care system in the coming years.

TRUMP EXALTS VICTORY

The vote was thought a major breakthrough for Trump who failed to get any major legislations passed by the Congress during his first 100 days in the White House.

Following the voting, Trump, together with Vice President Mike Pence and dozens of House Republicans, celebrated the victory at the White House Rose Garden, touting the bill as a "great plan" while claiming Obamacare "essentially dead."

"This has really brought the Republican Party together," Trump said. "As much as we've come up with a really incredible health care plan, this has brought the Republican Party together. We're going to get this finished."

"It's going to be an unbelievable victory... when we get it through the Senate." he said.

"A lot of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote," House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier Thursday.

House Republican leaders had scrambled for enough support before the voting after having a series of changes added since an earlier version was pulled from a House floor voting at last minute in March.

Also on the day, frustrated Democrats warned that the Obamacare repeal will leave Americans worse off.

"Make no mistake, many people will die as a result of this bill," House lawmaker Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, said on ABC.

Sensing the challenges ahead in the Senate, Pence told the crowd: "Welcome to the beginning of the end of Obamacare."

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