Trump truck: What the US President was doing while his health care bill was pulled from Congress floor

The President honked the horn in a big rig truck as a vote on his flagship health care bill was being cancelled by members of his own Republican Party

Chantal da Silva
Friday 24 March 2017 12:06
Trump pretends to drive a truck as healthcare bill struggles to pass

As members of his Republican Party were forced to delay his much trumpeted health care bill, Donald Trump was posing in the cab of a big rig truck and honking its horn.

With crowds cheering him on, the US President, gleefully climbed into the drivers seat before throwing a few punches.

“No one knows America like truckers know America,” he said in a video he later posted to Twitter. “Every town, every forest, from border to border, from ocean to ocean.”

It followed a meeting between the US leader and a group of truckers and CEOs at the White House.

Elsewhere in Washington DC, his much championed health care bill ran into a road block, as his Republican Party was forced to pull a vote on his American Healthcare Act, which is intended to replace parts of his predecessor's signature “Obamacare” law.

It was delayed because of opposition from some members of the party, as well as their Democratic rivals.

Few would be able to guess from the President’s carefree facade, or the “I love trucks” pin fastened to his suit jacket, that his much championed bill was running into trouble.

But that didn’t stop Twitter users from seizing the moment and immortalising it with a flood of memes.

Mr Trump delivered an ultimatum to his party after the vote was delayed, demanding that they either vote to approve the bid to overhaul the country’s health care system – or reject it, so his team can move on to other legislative priorities.

Some commentators have called it risky move on the President’s part, because replacing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, dubbed “Obamacare”, was a major linchpin of his election campaign platform.

Republicans plan to eliminate Obamacare’s unpopular fines on those who do not obtain coverage, as well as the subsidies made available for those who do purchase insurance.

Under Mr Trump’s plan, consumers would instead face a 30 per cent premium penalty if they let their coverage lapse.

Mr Trump sported an ‘I love trucks’ badge while meeting with truckers and CEOs to hear out their health care concerns (Getty)

The bill would also end the expansion of Medicaid – a social health care program for families and individuals with limited resources.

Federal financing for the program would also be cut, allowing states to impose their own work requirements on some of Medicaid’s 70 million beneficiaries.

If the measure fails, it will be a significant defeat for the US President in his first attempt at passing major legislation.

It would also mean that Obamacare, the health care plan that Republicans have vowed to dismantle since its introduction seven years ago, will remain in place.

House speaker Paul Ryan insisted the vote would take place.

“We have been promising the American people that we will repeal and replace this broken law because it’s collapsing and it’s failing families,” he said.

Paul Ryan delivered brief remarks and took no questions from reporters after announcing the vote would take place Friday

He refused to say whether Republicans had enough votes to secure the bill's passage.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said changes Republican leaders had proposed to win votes would slash the legislation’s deficit reduction by more than half, to $150bn (£120bn) over the next decade.

This would still result in an estimated 24 million more US residents being uninsured.

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