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Donald Trump suffered a major blow on Thursday after Republican leaders postponed a vote on a healthcare bill following their failure to unite the party around the effort to replace the Obamacare law that they had vowed to repeal once they controlled the White House.

Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House, abandoned the vote after a final effort by the White House to convince conservative rebels to support the bill failed.

Hardline conservatives left a meeting with the president earlier on Thursday without an agreement, but the White House had tried to put a positive gloss on events, saying the two sides were on “a great trajectory” towards passing the bill.

The push to get a Republican repeal of Obamacare through Congress has turned into the biggest test of Mr Trump’s ability to deliver on his campaign promises and unite his party.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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