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Trump Looks for Win after Healthcare Failure


President Donald Trump, flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right, before talking to reporters about the failure of his health care overhaul bill on Friday, March 24, 2017, at the White House. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Last week was a bad one for President Donald Trump.

On Monday, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told Congress he had “no information” to support Trump’s claims of being wiretapped by former President Barack Obama. The FBI chief also confirmed that his agency is investigating the Trump-Russian connection.

Then, a bill to replace the 2010 health care law known as “Obamacare” failed. A scheduled congressional vote on the bill to replace the law was cancelled to avoid an embarrassing defeat.

As a candidate, Trump promised to replace Obamacare with something “much better.” Congressional Republicans have promised to kill the law since the day it was passed by a Democratic president and Democratic Congress seven years ago.

It is not unusual for a president to suffer a defeat in Congress. But some experts said his presidency is off to a bad start since very few lose on their first major bill.

Larry Sabato is director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He said, “It’s early in his presidency, and there are plenty of days and ways to recover from this. But Trump’s administration has started out worse than any in my lifetime.”

After the bill’s defeat, Trump said he will focus on other campaign promises like tax reform to encourage businesses to produce more products in the U.S.

Follow through on campaign promises

The president has had some successes with his campaign promises for the first 100 days -- mainly those he could do on his own.

Five days into his presidency, he nominated a conservative judge, Neil Gorsuch, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch is likely to be confirmed by the Senate, despite Democratic opposition.

Trump has also issued a series of promised executive orders. He ordered federal agencies to cancel two regulations for every new one. He issued two executive orders to temporarily ban travel to the U.S. from some Muslim-majority nations. Federal courts, however, blocked both travel ban orders.

In his proposed budget, Trump also added money to start building a wall along America’s southern border with Mexico.

Early defeat raises questions about future programs

As a candidate, Trump said he would negotiate successfully with Congress and world leaders -- just as he did for many years as a successful businessman.

“We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning,” he said as a candidate.

The defeat of the bill to replace Obamacare raises questions whether Trump will have enough support among members of his own party in Congress.

On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the president “gave his all,” but still could not win enough Republican votes to pass it.

“I don't know what else to say other than Obamacare's the law of the land,” Ryan said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks to reporters Friday after failure of health overhaul bill.
House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks to reporters Friday after failure of health overhaul bill.

Jack Rackove is a history and political science professor at Stanford University in California. He said Trump appeared “uninformed” about the complex American health care system. Trump left “everything to the House Republicans who were too divided to govern effectively,” he said.

Trump's chief of staff, Reince Preibus, Sunday blamed conservative Republicans for opposing the bill even after Trump agreed to changes they had requested. Preibus said on Fox News that the president is now willing to work around those conservative Republicans, and negotiate with moderate Democrats.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said that Democrats are willing to work with Trump. But he needs to learn from his mistakes, Schumer said on ABC.

“You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal,” he said. “You can't tweet your way through it.”

I'm Anne Ball.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English based on reports from AP, Reuters, VOA News and other sources. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

replace - v. to be used instead of something

wiretapping - n. to place a device on (someone's phone) in order to secretly listen to telephone calls

embarrassing -- adj. to make someone look foolish

executive - adj. carried out by a leader -- in this case the president

real estate - n. property consisting of buildings and land

effectively - adv. - to do something well

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