In a dramatic floor vote early Friday morning, the Senate failed to pass the latest GOP effort to roll back portions of Obamacare, including the individual mandate. Three Republicans — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain of Arizona — joined their Democrat allies in voting against the measure.
The votes cast by Murkowski and Collins are no surprise, but the measure would have passed if McCain had voted for it. That vote would have caused a tie, which would have been broken by Vice President Pence.
According to reporters who were present, McCain’s vote prompted audible gasps on the Senate floor.
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According to Breitbart:
The Health Care Freedom Act would have repealed Obamacare’s individual and employer mandate, provided states flexibility on Obamacare insurance regulations through waivers, increased Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution limits, repealed Obamacare’s medical device tax, and defunded Planned Parenthood for one year.
The Senate healthcare reform process already traversed a rocky path. The Senate’s motion to start debating healthcare legislation barely passed through the upper chamber at 51-50. Vice President Mike Pence had to break the tie after Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted against starting the debate in Congress.
The Senate leadership failed to pass its healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), and Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) clean repeal bill failed in the Senate after moderate Republicans shot down the legislation.
After the vote, a visibly frustrated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “clearly a disappointing moment.”
Trump, for his part, contended that the senators who opposed the plan “let the American people down.” He added: “as I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal.”
While Trump has previously suggested letting Obamacare “implode,” as a candidate and as president he has usually promoted repealing and replacing Obamacare.
“Mr. President, this is clearly a disappointing moment. From skyrocketing costs, to plummeting choices, and collapsing markets, our constituents have suffered an awful lot under Obamacare,” McConnell said after the vote. “We thought they deserved better, it’s why I and many of my colleagues did as we promised and voted to repeal this failed law. We told our constituents we would vote that way, but when the moment came most of us did. We kept our commitments, we worked hard, and everyone on this side can attest to the fact that we worked really hard. We tried to develop a consensus for a way forward and I want to thank everyone in our conference for the endless amount of time that they spent trying to achieve a consensus to go forward. I also want to thank the President and the Vice President, both of them could not have been more involved and more helpful. So yes, this is a disappointment. A disappointment indeed.”
Now, Breitbart said, McConnell has “challenged” Democrats — the same ones who gave us Obamacare — to come up with a solution.
“Now it’s time for the other side to put their ideas forward and we’ll see how the American people feel about their ideas,” he said.
“My only regret, our only regret tonight, that we didn’t achieve what we had hoped to accomplish. I think the American people are going to regret that we couldn’t find a better way forward,” he concluded.
Prior to the vote allowing debate on Obamacare repeal, McCain lashed out at conservatives on talk radio and the Internet.
“Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, television and internet,” he said in a Senate floor speech. “To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good.”
Now with this vote, he’s basically said “to hell” with Americans suffering under Obamacare.
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