August 19, 2017

Watch the moment that McCain voted no on Obamacare repeal

30 July 2017, 01:07 | Santos West

David R. Lutman for The Boston Globe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

David R. Lutman for The Boston Globe		Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Here, in their words, is why they did it.

Trump received a major blow when Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined Democrats to oppose a "skinny repeal" of Obamacare.

It crashed to defeat, 49-51.

President Donald Trump said the three had "let the American people down".

"So it's time for our friends on the other side to tell us what they have in mind...." The Senate has been grappling for weeks with healthcare overhaul, running through different versions of legislation before settling on the more modest attempt with the aim of moving to a conference with the House of Representatives. "We kept our commitments".

McCain said it came down to the idea that it was a repeal without a foreseeable plan to replace.

"For American voters expecting their Republican-dominated House, Senate and White House to honor their years of repeal promises and actually, well, repeal Obamacare, McCain's thumbs-down was a face-slap moment that will be remembered in history as a textbook classic case of political betrayal", she writes.

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For now, at least, Americans still have a health care system - unless Trump allows it to "implode, then deal", as he has threatened to do via Twitter.

In his statement, Mr McCain said Obamacare was in a state of "collapse", with healthcare premiums "skyrocketing" and providers "fleeing the marketplace". "We thought they deserved better". And I suspect that not many folks over here are interested in that. While today was a win for millions of Americans, our fight is far from over. "It needs to be a much more deliberative process".

McConnell put the health bill on hold and announced that the Senate would move onto other legislation next week.

The President, who had been pressuring fellow Republicans to vote for the bill, clearly was angered by all of this. Lindsey Graham of SC and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in a press conference in which they demanded the House not pass the exact text they would be voting to move forward. "We got a bill passed in the House", said Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia, referring to a House health care bill passed in May. "We can not let the public believe that we are done with healthcare. We are just beginning".

Neither budged, and in the end the effort concentrated on McCain, who on Tuesday helped make early Friday's vote possible. Chuck Schumer of NY, the Democratic leader of the Senate, praised him, Collins and Murkowski. Schumer expressed confusion on this point since the health care bill failed to clear the 51 vote threshold it needed last night.

To see how each of the 100 senators voted, view the roll call here.

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