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For the Record with Greta, transcript 3/24/2017

Guests: Michael Steele, George Will, Dutch Ruppersberger, Susan Page, John McCormack, Kevin Cirilli, Steve Kornacki, John Harwood

Show: FOR THE RECORD Date: March 24, 2017 Guest: Michael Steele, George Will, Dutch Ruppersberger, Susan Page, John McCormack, Kevin Cirilli, Steve Kornacki, John Harwood CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS SHOW HOST: That is all for tonight, we are back tomorrow morning MTB Daily, "For the record" with Greta starts right now, Greta, I just passed this hot baton to you. 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, NBC NEWS HOST FOR THE RECORD:  Yes indeed, but don`t forget, you`ll be back on Sunday morning on meet the press. 

TODD:  You got it.  Go badgers. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Go badgers at 10:00 p.m.  Thanks Chuck.  And tonight, well, it`s dead, Republicans repeal bill yanked from the house floor, President Trump and Speaker Ryan reading the writing on the wall, seeing that the vote was not there, so they called the vote.  So now, who pays the political price, what happens to Donald Trump`s agenda, what happens to President Trump relationship with the speaker of the house, Paul Ryan?  And most important of all, what does this all mean for the future of health care and you.  Tonight we have more questions than answers.  We start with President Trump saying this late today. 


DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We were very close, it was a very, very tight margin, we had no Democrat support.  We had no votes from the Democrats.  They weren`t going to give us a single vote, so it`s a very difficult thing to do.  I have been saying for the last year and a half, that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode and it is exploding right now.  It`s -- many states have big problems almost all states have big problems.  I was in Tennessee the other day, and they have lost half of their state in terms of an insurer, they have no insurer.  And that is happening too in many other places.  I was in Kentucky the other day, and similar things are happening.  So Obamacare is exploding with no Democrat support.  We can`t quite get there.  We`re just a very small number of votes short getting the bill passed.  I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own Obamacare, they own it.  100 percent own it.  This is not Republican health care, this is not anything but Democrat health care and they have Obamacare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist, which it will at some point in the near future.  And just remember, this is not our bill.  This is their bill.  Now when they all become civilized and get together, and try to work out a great health care bill for the people of this country, we`re open to it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sir, is it fair for Americans to let Obamacare explode? 

TRUMP:   There`s nothing you can do about it.  Things are going to happen to Obamacare, there`s not much you can do to help it.  I have been saying that for a year and a half, I said eventually, it`s not sustainable.  I said the other day when President Obama left, 17, he knew he wasn`t going to be here, 17 is going to be a very, very bad year for Obamacare, very, very bad.  You`re going to have explosive premium increases and the deductibles are so high people don`t even to get to use it.  I think we need to let Obamacare go its way for a while and we`ll see how thing go.  It`s not a question of, gee, I hope it does well, I would love it to go well, I want great health care for the people of this nation, but it can`t do well.  But it`s imploding and soon it will explode and it will not be pretty.  And the Democrats don`t want to see that, so they`re going to reach out when they`re ready.  And whenever they`re ready, we`re ready. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Have you been betrayed by the house freedom caucus at all? 

TRUMP:   No they are friends of mine.  I`m disappointed, because we could have had it.  I`m a little surprised to be honest with you.  We thought we had it.  It was pretty much there within grasp.  But I`ll tell you what`s going to come out of it, is a better bill.  I really believe a better bill.  Because there were things in this bill I didn`t particularly love.  I never said, I guess I`m here, what, 64 days?  I never said repeal and replace Obamacare, I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days.  I have a long time.  But I want to have a great health care bill and plan, and we will, it will, it will happen and it won`t be in the very distant future. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Here`s what Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said just minutes before President Trump spoke. 


PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER:  You`ve all heard me say this before.  Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains.  And we`re feeling those growing pains today.  We came really close today, but we came up short.  I spoke to the president just a little while ago, I told him that the best thing I think to do is to pull this bill.  And he agreed with that decision.  I will not sugar coat this, this is a disappointing day for us.  Doing big things is hard, for all of us, all of us, myself included.  We will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, what we could have done to do it better.  But ultimately, this all kind of comes down to a choice.  Are all of us willing to give a little to get something done?  Are we willing to say yes to the good, to the very good, even if it`s not the perfect, because if we`re willing to do that, we still have such an incredible opportunity in front of us?  I`m really proud of the bill that we produced.  It would make a dramatic improvement in our health care system and provide relief by people hurting under Obamacare.  And what`s probably most troubling is the worst is yet to come with Obamacare.  The president gave his all in this effort.  He did everything he possibly could to help people see the opportunity we have with this bill.  He is really been fantastic.  Still, we got to do better, and we will.  I absolutely believe that.  This is a setback, no two ways about it.  But it is not the end of the story, because I know that every man and woman in this conference is now motivated more than ever to step up our game.  What we`re really worried about, and you have heard me say this all along, is the coming premium increases with a death spiraling health care system.  That is my concern. 

We just didn`t quite get consensus today.  What we have is a member-driven process to trying to consensus, we came very close but we did not get that consensus, that is why I think the wise thing to do would be to not proceed with a vote, but to pull the bill, but I don`t think the law as it`s fashioned or anything close to it can survive.  There is a bloc of no votes that we didn`t have that is why this didn`t pass, there were a sufficient number of votes that prevented it from passing and they didn`t change their votes.  We were close, some members of that caucus were voting with us, but some weren`t.  We did not have quite the votes to replace this law, so we`re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.  I don`t know how long it`s going to take to replace this law.  My worry is that Obamacare is going to be getting even worse.  Actually I think we were doing the Democrats a favor, I think we are doing the architects of Obama a favor by passing this law before it gets even worse.  I guess that favor isn`t going to be given to them and it`s just going to get worse. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  This is the story with huge implications from the White House to Capitol Hill to Main Street.  We start with NBC`s Kelley O`Donnell live on Capitol Hill.  Kelly? 

KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL:  Well Greta, this is the room where Speaker Ryan made that, I`m sure, humbling and difficult set of remarks today and taking questions about a big loss for him, his leadership team and the White House.  Hard to measure right now exactly how they will pay a price politically, in what way, and will it be a case of making it more difficult to move on to the next set of issues?  They have demonstrated now that they don`t have the sort of unity within their Republican conference to get big things done.  Will there be a price on tax reform or immigration coming next?  That is a test.  In talking with members, trying to see what price if any would there to pay at home prior to the vote not being taken, some said not voting for or opposing it, would be a benefit to them at home, for very different reasons.  In blue states, you found that Republicans would say that too many of their constituents were concerned about losing coverage.  In extremely red states would find that members who resisted this thought it didn`t do enough to unwind some of the tax issues and some of the -- they called it Obamacare-lite, as you know.  So on all end, they have all been trying to measure what this means going forward, it will take a little while for that to settle up, I think kind of the stinging notion of what happened today will have real reverberations and we`ll be able to measure it from the White House for leadership here on Capitol Hill and district by district around the country.  Greta? 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Kelly thank you, now for the Capitol Hill form the White House where Chris Jansing is standing by.  Chris? 

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC SHOW HOST:  Well this is President Trump`s first big legislative test and it didn`t even get to a vote, Greta.  It`s hard to view this as anything but a massive setback for this president.  And boy, was there high drama, with the speaker of the house coming here and telling the president, we didn`t have the votes, that didn`t stop the HHS secretary from going back to talk to that freedom caucus one last time to see if they could win some of those dissenting members over.  And in the end after about 3:00 this afternoon that phone call, where they both knew that they just didn`t have the votes, it didn`t do any good for either side for them to bring it to a vote.  And the president made a phone call to a "Washington Post" reporter, I think three big takeaways, one obviously the ACA stays in place, but it means that Republicans, many of them who were elected on a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare did not keep their promise.  And the president in spite of trying to say that, that was not what he said, did repeatedly had it on his website, that this is a major priority for him. 

He also said that the losers are Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, but I think the immediate effects (inaudible) on this White House and the Republicans` ability to having the three branches of power to get things done, there are so many high-stakes things that are coming up and how do they get to do that?  There seems to be the president expressed this surprise at this big chasm within the Republican Party, and I will tell you, Greta that I just ran into Sean Spicer, it`s clear that they felt that there were members of that freedom caucus, that even though they said they wanted to be able to make this work, came back again and again and again and said no.  It changes the equation for tax reform.  And I think finally when the president said that this is the best thing that could have happened, it is hard to see how this is a good outcome for this White House.  Greta? 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Chris, thank you.  With me former chairman of the Republican national committee Michael Steele and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for "The Washington Post," George Will, George I`m going to ask you a question, I will just go and let you have the stage, what do you think? 

GEORGE WILL, THE COLUMNIST:  First of all, it`s interesting that the speaker and the president are speaking from the same hymnal.  They`re saying Obamacare is going to collapse from its internal contradictions, it`s an inherent possibility.  They may be right about this, I don`t know.  The speaker came out today and said doing big things is hard, yes, but conservatism teaches you that when something is hard, because you`re crying to micromanage a section of the economy, it`s not just hard, it`s imprudent.  I don`t consider this a failure today.  When Edison was trying to develop a filament for the incandescent light bulb, he kept failing, he said I didn`t fail, I have learned 88 things that don`t work.  Now they have learned what doesn`t work in this kind of reform.  The freedom caucus, they`re sort of the Republican wing of the Republican Party, and they said, I`m sorry, this is not what we came here to do, try again. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Michael, the president and the speaker blaming the Democrats, but they own the White House, and they have the number of Republicans, but they didn`t satisfy their own people, but they`re saying it`s the Democrats` fault. 

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN:  It`s a good deflection, and you kind of expect that, but the reality is you had a seven-year runway to this moment.  You had the run-up, you had the opportunity, you had 60 plus to repeal Obamacare when it didn`t matter, you had a chance to create a narrative and at the end to produce a product that not only your caucus would get behind but the American people would support.  This bill had 17 percent support across all spectrums by the American people.  And it was very clear that on a good day the best you can muster was 30 Republicans who would say no, probably more, right?  And that just killed the whole thing.  So at the end of the day, this whole thing is an example to what George was saying, about, you know, how you learn from this.  And what will the speaker and the president learn? 

The president said interestingly enough yesterday, I should have followed my instincts and led with tax reform.  And I let them talk me into doing health care.  And that was reminiscent of what happened in the White House eight years ago, when Rahm Emanuel wanted to stay away from health care and the president wanted to do it, he wanted to do something else.  So clearly when it comes to health care, this idea of trying to solve this problem, is much more complicated, to use the president`s word, than either the White House or the hill seem to understand. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  You know George, the president blames the Democrats, and says the big losers are Schumer and Pelosi and the house Democrats, and he predicts when Obamacare collapses, it`s going on the on their watch.  But the fact that the Republicans tried to tweak it, aren`t the facts that their fingerprints are all over it now and their ability to do something magical with it now, isn`t it now Trumpcare, Ryancare? 

WILL:  I think so, they`ll just say Washington has failed us again and nothing has changed.  The president said today I didn`t promise to get this done by the 64th day.  Actually, I don`t want to be impertinent and correct the record, but he said on day one he would produce a plan that would repeal and replace at a tiny fraction of the cost.  So that didn`t work out either.  And the intransigence, of the freedom caucus, there`s this little bit of history.  June 2003, they`re passing Medicare part d.  They don`t have the votes because some recalcitrant Republicans won`t go along.  They held the vote open for two hours and 51 minutes, the longest vote in house history, and they still couldn`t get one man -- they won it with 216 to 215, but a congressman from Indiana named Mike Pence wouldn`t come around at the end.  So he knows something about resistance. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Tonight the White House, probably a pretty sober night at the White House, I mean the art of the deal didn`t quite go down, if that you were really good at the art of the deal democracy you would have carved out some Democrats. 

STEELE:  I think a president coming to this -- if this is the space you`re going to occupy, find out how to occupy it.  Who do I need at the table to get this done?  That is really the essence of the art of the deal, not who`s coming into the room, but who`s at the table.  The Democrats didn`t want to be there, bring them in, and find a way.  And he said see if the Democrat also come around and we`ll work it out later.  And it goes to how this thing was set up from the beginning, Greta.  It was a mess.  It was a hot mess from the start. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All those Republicans, I mean many Republicans promised to repeal and replace. 

STEELE:  And at the reality of that promise was, this wasn`t just to get something done for the sake of meeting the promise or getting it done, was not what the voters back home were expecting.  They wanted a full repeal of Obamacare, full stop.  Then they wanted to see what the next plan would be.  And you had that run up long before this administration came in.  . 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Speaker Ryan, what do you think Speaker Ryan is thinking tonight? 

WILL:  I think he loves to kind of put together these complicated rubics cube kind of legislations.  In 1993, the new Clinton administration comes in, Pat Monaghan beg them, said do not start with health care, it`s really complicated.  They started with healthcare, he said start with a reform which is popular they started with healthcare, they produce an extraordinary complicated bill in secret with all this experts and they couldn`t even get a Democratic controlled congress to bring it to the floor in the end.  This is dangerous stuff. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Is tax reform next?  And is that complicated or what happens? 

WILL:  Well, there was supposed to be a trillion dollar tax cut, cutting the Obamacare taxes, to be made up by the border adjustment tax.  Now the border adjustment tax is itself about as complicated as this.  And they have --

VAN SUSTEREN:  They give everything new names, border adjustment.  That means tariff.  I mean everything gets a new name.  This was supposed to be repeal, it wasn`t repeal, and this was an amendment.  I don`t know what America can game for all these names that the politicians put on it. 

WILL:  It`s a tariff, and the biggest retail giant Wal-Mart, and they don`t like it.  You pick a fight with the biggest private sector employer, you have to lose. 

STEELE:  And the American people have a sense of that as well.  We were talking before about how they kind of look at it, the American folks and say they don`t really know what`s going on.  They`re not stupid.  And they know and certainly the freedom caucus, and I have to give them props, they have stood their ground.  They haven`t always been diligent on that, but on this was a bill where they need to stand their ground. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  There`s some old-fashioned arm twisting with the congressman out in Iowa who expected to get money from the super PAC who has allegiance to Speaker Ryan, they pulled that out as soon as they found out they were going to vote no, the old fashioned turn off the money. 

WILL:  There are fewer ways to twist arms now, in 2003, when they were twisting arms on the Medicare part d, they had earmarks, no earmarks to brandish this time around. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Anyway, gentlemen thank you.  President Trump calls himself the best deal maker in the world, so why was he unable to close this deal.  And Speaker Paul Ryan says it`s a disappointing day.  How would he work with the Freedom Caucus to move forward?  And President Trump making a lot of claims about health care today.  Steve Bernanke joins me to separate (inaudible) we are live in Washington on this historic day here on MSNBC. 


RYAN:  I don`t know what else to say, other than Obamacare is the law of the land, it`s going to remain the law of the land until it gets replace.   We did not quite the votes to replace this law and so we are going to be living with Obamacare for the first evil future I don`t how long it`s going to takes us to replace this law. 



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER:  We are very proud of the affordable care act.  Yesterday as you know was the seven-year anniversary of the president signing the bill.  Today is a great day for our country, what happened on the floor is a victory for the American people, for our seniors, for our people with disabilities, for our children. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  House minority leader Nancy Pelosi claiming a victory after the house GOP yanked the health care bill from the vote, but President Trump with a message for leader Pelosi and another top Democrat. 


TRUMP:  I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.  This is not our bill this is their bill, now when they all become civilized and get together and try to work out a great health care bill for the people of this country, we`re open to it. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  With me, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger from the great state of Maryland, nice to see you Congressman. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Ok.  Congressman, is it now likely after today that the Democrats and Republicans might get together and figure out ways to repair or fix or amend or tinker with Obamacare? 

RUPPESBERGER:  Greta that is a great point, because if you look at why we try started Obamacare to begin with, we are trying to deal with escalating premiums, healthcare is a difficult issue and it takes a lot of time.  What really concerned me was in the last six years when the Republicans were in charge, we voted six times to resolve this bill and not one time did we try to resolve the issues with Obamacare.  Now when Republicans have total authority and control, it`s a bill that was put on very quickly.  I look at it -- I know the president just said that Democrats own it.  Democrats don`t own it.  Health care is about the United States of America and our citizens.  And I think the fact that now that this occurred that we can take this as an example, one door shuts, another opens and we can get Democrats and Republicans together to do what`s right.  There are some very good things about Obamacare and the numbers are getting better every year, every year it gets better, because more people are involved and the more people that have the insurance, the cost hopefully will go down. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Is there any sort of model?  I mean how is your home state doing, how is Maryland doing? 

RUPPESBERGER:  Maryland is doing fine.  Maryland has four insurance companies, I know there`s some states that only have one.  But I give you an example of what the people think.  And I think the reason this happened today is because the people of the United States of America stood up, they looked at the facts, they were tired of all the rhetoric and this is bad and this is going to self-destruct and what they did, they said we want to keep this insurance because we feel secure with it.  Especially seniors, when seniors are told that they`re going to pay in this bill that failed to pass today five times more.  There`s things you can`t have.  I represent a lot of seniors.  Hopefully if we can take what we have now, get more people involved and have Democrats and Republicans come together.  That is what people want in this country they`re sick and tired of Democrats and Republicans fighting and not accomplishing anything. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  When the affordable care act is left alone, I think that is Republicans now plan to do, are the premiums going to skyrocket as the Republicans predict? 

RUPPESBERGER:  The facts don`t show that.  The numberings don`t show that, the CBO, which is a bipartisan group, appointed by Republican leadership came out with the numbers, I think that is what turned the tide here, and what the Americans said, I believe 55 percent of Democrats have said they want to maintain what we have.  And 17 percent said no we don`t want it.  Just in my office, we received close to 1,500 calls, from Republicans and Democrats in my district, and we certified that and there were 135 that were for the bill and over 1,500 against it.  That just goes to show you. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Congressman, thank you for joining us. 

Still ahead, who gets the blame and what happens next for Obamacare for Democrats and the GOP.  And did anyone see this coming?  Well, maybe one person did. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In the 25 years I served in the United States congress, Republicans never ever -- not one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like.  Not one. 








PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  I don`t want to cast blames. There was block of no votes that we had that is why this didn`t pass. There were a sufficient number of votes that prevented it from passing and their votes.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST:  Well, this is Washington so we must ask this question. Who gets the blame? Late today after the Republican scrapped their health care bill, President Trump telling the "Washington Post" that in his view, it was Speaker Ryan`s fault saying, quote, "I don`t blame Paul."

Susan Page is the Washington bureau chief of "USA Today," John McCormack is a senior writer with "The Weekly Standard," and Kevin Cirilli is a political reporter for "Bloomberg News." And Susan, I`m curious as to who you think pays -- who pays the price, the political price on this, even though underlying this all we know this is very serious for every American because it has to do with health care. But anyway, let`s talk about the political price.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY:  Let`s talk about the politics because it`s more fun than talking about the substance. I think there is a lot of blame to go around. I think Speaker Ryan takes a blame for not handling this better after all these years in the wilderness waiting for a president who would sign a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. But I think the president does not escape blame as well. You know, this is his first big legislative initiative and it went down in flames.

VAN SUSTEREN:  And he outsourced it of course to Speaker Ryan even though he said he was going to have a plan.

JOHN MCCORMACK, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD:  Yes. I mean, at the end of the day I think everybody shares blame in this. The Republicans couldn`t agree, moderates didn`t like that it cut back on Medicaid, that it reduced the number of people overall who would have insurance. Conservatives didn`t like it because it didn`t go after Obamacare`s regulations or the real cost drivers that make insurance cost much under Obamacare.

So I think Republicans need to have an adult conversation. They need to decide are we going to maybe overcome -- overrule the Senate rules that made us keep these Obamacare regulations. They`re going to go for a big bold conservative reform. And if they are, they need it to have some -- do something much smaller. So that`s a real conversation there. There are conservatives who don`t want to overturn the Senate rules. There are establishment guys who don`t want to overturn these rules. So, if they don`t, they need to figure something else out.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Kevin, President Trump says the losers here are Pelosi and Schumer, although Pelosi says it was a victory today for the American people, and I assume for herself as well.

KEVIN CIRILL, POLITICAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS:  It was absolutely March madness today on Capitol Hill. I mean I just --

VAN SUSTEREN:  I`m still doing well in the brackets by the way. As a side, let me brag. Let me brag. Go Wisconsin tonight, but go ahead.

CIRILLI:  -- the loss I lost. But listen, I just spoke with the House Ways And Means Committee Kevin Brady, and he was about to board a flight to go back to his constituents back home. And he said, look, I got to go back to the drawing board. But the constituents for the Republican Party, time and time again, on the campaign trail, which you know I traveled extensively with President Trump and his campaign.

Every rally he vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. I`ll tell you who won, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee, they were in constant contact with the House Freedom Caucus trying to hold them together, and they did. And they succeeded.

Now, whether or not what this does for tax reform, because the divisions on tax reform, the border adjustment tax, I mean, the House Freedom Caucus is going into this fight in motive. That is going to cause a more harsh political headache for this administration.

PAGE:  But if you`re thinking about winners, you know, the Democrats were irrelevant to this conversation so far, but if the President Trump does what he says he`s going to do this afternoon -- what he said this afternoon, which is wait for Democrats to reach out to him to basically try to fix the Affordable Care Act.

That`s something Democrats would be delighted to do. That` something Democrats have talked about doing for have talked about doing for years. Clearly there are some things that need to be addressed in the Affordable Care Act. If they find a partner with Donald Trump, wouldn`t that be ironic if Trump and congressional Democrats fix the Affordable Care Act in a way that makes Obama`s signature dish work better and be sustainable?

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, as was trying for office, he was more moderate, the president. I mean President Trump was, I mean, he`s been sort of moving around in the spectrum, the political spectrum, but it would still make sense for him to work with the Democrats.

MCCORMACK:  I mean he called for single payer health care, long ago even during, I think that was the first Republican debate back in August 2015. He defended single payer health care saying that it works in Canada and Scotland. You know, a lot of conservatives didn`t like that. The idea that the government, you know, the conservatives saying like the DMV being in charge of health care, it`s not exactly a great idea.

But I don`t think it`s going to happen right now, but if Republicans get blown up in two years, I think President Trump would be very happy to work with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer to craft a health care bill.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Kevin, I mentioned White House really licking their wounds tonight because not only they have this of course they had the travel order that`s been hang up in all the courts. I mean this has not been a particularly good couple of weeks for them.

CIRILLI:  As well as the House Intelligence Committee hearings, investigations that will continue, that will be in the Senate. The Senate next week will begin to hear U.S. Intelligence Committee officials testifying before them.

Look, White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, arm in arm basically last night on Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers, urging them to get this done. It didn`t get done. There was no deal. What does that mean for immigration and other divisive issues, tax reform, I mean the list goes on and on.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Infrastructure. Everybody likes potholes fixed, I would recommend they move on to the one. Thank you.

Ahead, separating the spin from the facts, Steve Kornacki joins me next. Also, President Trump moving on to tax reform? Will we have problems again? We`re live in Washington where all the action is. Stay with us right here on MSNBC.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Today President Trump and other Republicans are trying to explain or spin this collapse of the health care bill as best they could. MSNBC`s Steve Kornacki for a look at that. OK, Steve, let`s take a look first at the president`s statement about how close he was to success. Here`s what he said.


TRUMP:  We`re just a very small number of votes, short in terms of getting our bill passed. We were just probably anywhere from 10 to 15 votes short, could have even been closer than that. You`ll never know because you`ll never know how they vote. But in the end, I think we would have been ten votes maybe closer.


VAN SUSTEREN:  OK Steve, what about that?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST:  Well, he`s right that you`ll never know, but that`s probably a generous read on where this thing stood in the house. Our own NBC count has basically three dozen Republicans saying they were no, saying they were likely to be no if this thing got called to a vote. That number was getting bigger as this debate wore on. We had that poll and it showed this wasn`t exactly going over well with the public.

Typically what you find when votes like this go to the floor, if it`s immediately clear that the votes aren`t going to be there to pass it. You see a lot of undecided members, even a lot of soft yeses flood to the no side. I think there was a real chance if this went to the floor, it would have been a landslide.

VAN SUSTEREN:  I guess it`s how you define what the definition of close is. Anyway, OK, the president also talked about the fact that no Democrats were on board for today`s bill. Let`s listen to that one.


TRUMP:  With no Democrats on board, we couldn`t quite get there. We just -- a very small number of votes short in terms of getting our bill passed. So what would be really good, with no Democrat support, if the Democrats -- when it explodes, which it will soon, if they got together with us and got a real health care bill, I`d be totally open to it and I think that`s going to happen.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Okay, Steve, should he have expected or was it realistic that Democrats would work with him on this?

KORNACKI:  No, this was not anything that was part of the Republican strategy. Republican leaders in Congress openly said we are going to pass this, with Republican votes. We`re going to do it the Republican way. There was no outreach here. They thought, look, we got the majority in the House. We got the majority in the Senate. We got the White House, that`s the trifecta we`ve been waiting for years now and we`re going to pass our own plan. The votes were there if you would rely just on Republicans, if you could corral 215 of them. It didn`t pass because they couldn`t get 215 of them from their own party.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right, let me ask you about this one Steve. The president also talked about the timing of repealing Obamacare. Here it is.


TRUMP:  No, I never said -- 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. I have a long time.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Steve, this one?

KORNACKI:  Well, he didn`t literally say 64 days on the campaign trail, but he made it clear as a candidate, this was one of his first priorities as president, take a listen to him just days before the election.


TRUMP:  When we win on November 8th --


And elect a Republican congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare.



KORNACKI:  It doesn`t sound like something he was going to put on the back burner, at least the diversion that candidate Trump told us.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Steve, thank you.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Seven years Republicans waited, seven years to repeal Obamacare, and now they will wait longer, how did we get here? Well, that`s next.



REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA:  Health care is a right, it is not a privilege reserved for a wealthy few. This bill is a shame. It is a disgrace. We cannot abandon our principles. Mr. Speaker, we cannot forget our values. I have fought too hard and too long to back down now.

Mr. Speaker, I will fight every day, every hour, every minute and every second. I oppose this bill with every breath and every bone in my body. We must not give up, we cannot. I will not give in, not today, not tomorrow and never, ever.


VAN SUSTEREN:  A passionate Congressman John Lewis delivering a speech against the President Trump`s health bill. And John Harwood, CNBC`S chief Washington correspondent is here. John, looking at today and I realized it`s just sort of a, you know, mundane but an important day, what does this do, do you think to the rest of the Trump agenda?

JOHN HARWOOD, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, CNBC:  Well, look, I think first of all it is a wakeup call about the ability of this Republican president and the Congress to govern. Republicans have -- Paul Ryan talked about growing pains today but they`ve controlled the house for seven years. They`ve had difficulty moving forward.

I do think though that on issues like tax reform, there is much greater consensus within the Republican Party. I they narrow the focus I think trying to do comprehensive individual tax reform as well as corporate, is too big a task to bite off this year. But if they narrow it to corporate, I think that`s something that could get broad support within the party.

Not going to be easy. Nothing`s easy, but it`s easier and I think that`s something that the president is saying that he wants to get to and so do Republicans.

VAN SUSTEREN:  And also with this Obamacare, is that within Obamacare, which people are not talking much about, is the fact that there are something like between 1,400 and 2,200 provisions -- I forgot what it was - - that gives an enormous amount of power to the secretary of HHS, Dr. Price. And so they are actually can do a significant amount of changing or tinkering or fixing or amending of Obamacare.

HARWOOD:  Well, if they want to fix or amend it, this is phase two that Tom Price and the president have been talking about and so is the speaker. The problem is what they want to do is disassemble Obamacare but they`re governing now. It is now their health care program, their HHS. And so they`re going to have to calculate they say, well, Democrats will get the blame and the president said today Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were the losers today because they own it now. That`s not the case.

He`s the president of the United States and the challenges people have with their health care is now on him and on the Republicans in the Congress. And the worse that situation is, the more difficult the Republicans are going to have and that imperative bumps up against their ideological opposition to the idea.

VAN SUSTEREN:  I think his delivery too was rather humble.

HARWOOD:  Well, he`s been humbled.

VAN SUSTEREN:  No, I know. I was just saying, but I was surprised by that. I mean I thought he looked quite presidential taking that defeat.

HARWOOD:  I do think he did. He deflected blame and said Democrats didn`t vote.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, there was that. There was that.

HARWOOD:  As you said to Steve that was not in the cards, Democratic support. We`re going to wait and see what happens tomorrow morning, is there a tweet storm at 6:00 and we have a different presidential tone, but, you`re right, he was subdued today.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, we`ll be watching. We all watch our twitter feeds like I guess, like crazy. Anyway, thank you, John.

HARWOOD:  Great.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Speaker Paul Ryan says Obamacare is the law of the land, still seven years later, we will look at how we got here. That`s next.



JOHN BOEHNER, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  In the 25 years that I served in the United States congress, Republicans never, ever one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, that was former speaker of the house John Boehner just a few weeks ago. And today it was yet another close call for Obamacare, a law that has had an incredible roller-coaster ride ever since it was signed into law seven years ago. Now, here`s a look back.


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  If there is one next big fight that this president is ready to take on, it`s health care.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president`s first term. We can do that.

Health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait and it will not wait another year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Democrats accused Republicans of stirring a hostile political move.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Washington, epic 14-month battle over health care have exposed and angry side of America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Political anger and frustration on vivid display.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No one is talking about the government taking over health care.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am going to speak my mind.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, CHIEF ANCHOR, MSNBC NEWS:  The rise in tension and political division has been years in the making.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE:  Just say no! Just say no!

OBAMAP:  After almost a century of trying, over a year of debate, after all the votes have been tallied, health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America.

For the first time in 17 years, Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The bottom line is the Supreme Court has upheld the health care case.

OBAMA:  They`re on the website, Check it out for yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There has been some glitches with the rollout. The administration said it`s largely due to a high volume of online traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think we can repeal Obamacare.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA:  We need to repeal Obamacare.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS:  In 2017, we repeal Obamacare.

OBAMA:  I have no problem with folks saying Obama cares, I do care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The new commander-in-chief wasting no time signing his first executive order promising to start the dismantling of Obamacare.

TRUMP:  Obamacare is a disaster.

Repeal it, replace it, get something great.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Back with me, Susan, John and Kevin. Susan, starting with you, during the break, we were talking about how this was -- Obamacare was not president Obama`s issue to begin with.

PAGE:  That`s right. That was Hillary Clinton`s issue. He got kind of  dragged into it. A little bit (INAUDIBLE) he had other partners (ph). He had a lot of things to do when he first took over because of the financial crisis, and there were those who argued in the White House it was the wrong thing to do first because it was so hard.

But he did do it first, and it`s kind of -- as we know some big ups and downs and a big up today and that there was big -- there was an expectation Republicans would finally succeed in repealing it for something else and they have failed to do that. And now they agree that there`s going to be a long period of time, at least months and months, where we are living with Obamacare as the speaker said today.

VAN SUSTEREN:  You know John, it`s like, and I mean this is -- I mean it has many things for many people, Obamacare, and there are a lot of glitches to it. But you know, the Republicans said they were going to repeal it. And I think that they were quite realistic that weren`t really going to not repeal it. They`re going to fix it because you don`t take an entitlement program back from the American people, always not very successfully.

MCCORMACK:  No, I mean, any realistic repeal has to make sure that the people who were given additional protections are still protected. And as I was saying in that earlier segment, I think if you didn`t have to worry about this -- Obamacare passed with 60 votes in the Senate the first time. This time they`re trying to repeal, 51 votes. So there is this -- all these rules about what you can do or can`t do.

And they need to figure out are they going to maintain that or are they going to change it because I do think there are ways that you could -- a real conservative health care reform from example, there are some ideas, you know, this plan says that 24 million people are going to lose their health insurance.

One conservative idea and it`s not a purely limited government idea, is that you would auto enroll people on a catastrophic plan, for a price equal amount to the amount of the tax rate you`re getting at the bottom end. So anybody would be in there, you could opt out, it wouldn`t be like an individual mandate. That`s a kind of thing that conservatives probably wouldn`t like and it`s also the kind of thing that Republicans don`t think they can do with these senate rules in place.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Kevin, do we have the money for this?

CIRILLI:  Well, it depends on who you ask. But I can tell you that there is some consensus in Congress about parts of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare that could be fixed. But of course, none of that was addressed in any of the conversations that were held this week.


CIRILLU:  You know what, I spoke with -- such as the fact that there is limited choice in rural communities or that there is only one option for people in rural communities in order to get in.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Senator Rand Paul said, you know, maybe if you don`t work in a big, you know, big cooperation or a big group or something that maybe if you`re a machinist so you can join the trucker`s organization and be part of the 60,000 or 80,000 truckers who can get health insurance in another group.

CIRILLI:  And that`s what I think is missing from all of these conversations here in Washington, is that you go back out to those communities that President Trump won, that President Trump campaigned in, these folks are going to be turning on the news tonight and they`re going to saying, all of these Republicans including the president campaigned to fix Obamacare.

They`re going to read the papers tomorrow. They`re going to check Twitter tonight. All they`re going to see is that Obamacare stays. This is not a good message for Republicans.

VAN SUSTEREN:  See, I think that`s why -- why this while business about letting it -- the Republican strategy now letting Obamacare tumble or skyrocket. I don`t think they can say this is Obamacare anymore, because they sent out the message that they`re going to fix it. So I think they own it even they don`t touch it..

PAGE:  Well not only that, they`re in charge. He`s the president. They`re in control of the House and Senate. Can they let millions of American get into some dire straits or more serious straits and not make efforts to address it.

VAN SUSTEREN:  This is a little bit cool. I mean any way you look at it, and when we have this on Republican, Democrats winning and losing and blaming. Is it when comes right down to a fewer sick citizens out there. If you have a sick family member right now, it seems like -- everyone is being gamed on this, but these are real problems.

MCCORMACK:  I mean, millions of people lost plans that they like but President Obama so that they can keep. They`re very upset. Millions of people have their insurance rates premiums skyrocket. Now some people they think --

VAN SUSTEREN:  And so they don`t go because they can`t pay -- make the co- pay because the co-pay gets so high.

MCCORMACLK:  Yes, I mean $12,000 premium then you got to have a $12,000 deductible before you (INAUDIBLE). So you`re talking about spending $24,000 before you even get any benefit. Now that is much worse than anything. And if you talk to Democrats from rural district, someone like Holland Peterson, you know, he said that the biggest thing he heard about was the prices and he said that`s fair. Listen, this is unaffordable. You all do Affordable Care Act, it`s unaffordable.

VAN SUSTEREN:  I`m not convinced that we talk enough to people with the health care providers and the patients and all of this. You know, there are always big CBOs and everybody is talking about it. I still think it gets lost in the shuffle, but anyway, that`s just me.

Anyway, thank you all. Thank you very much for joining us. Thank you for watching. Have a great weekend. We`re going to see you back here Monday night, 6:00 p.m. eastern. And if you can`t watch live, set your DVR. And here`s the other really fun thing, right now you go to twitter @Greta and you can write the nastiest stuff about me and honestly, you`ll never get caught. "Hardball" is next.