In a tight 51-50 vote, the Republican-dominated Senate voted to start the process of repealing Obamacare. Only two Republicans—Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)— sided with Democrats, leaving Vice President Pence to break the tie.
According to CNN, as the vote began, protesters in the Senate gallery shouted “kill the bill” and “shame, shame, shame!”
There was hope that Republican Arizona Senator John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, would have a change of heart, understanding the irony of fighting for his life with the help of quality insurance, all while stripping away health care for millions of Americans. But that was not the case—he voted “aye” for a bill.
Had McCain voted “no,” the bill would have been killed in the water. As CNN noted, the next step is floor debate on the legislation to repeal former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which has helped millions of Americans gain access to coverage over the years. Yet it’s unknown if there will be enough Republican votes to pass the bill when it’s time to be voted in as law.
Even worse: No one know really knows what’s in the bill. It’s speculated that it will include massive cuts to Medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood and set serious roadblocks for those with pre-existing conditions. But time will only tell.
Shortly after the vote, McCain oddly took to the Senate floor to blast the same bill he voted to move forward. The Hill reported that he stressed he would not vote the repeal bill into law and urged both sides to work together on health care reform.
“Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle,” McCain said.
He added: “We’ve tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration … asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition. I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t.”
But talk is cheap Sen. McCain and your actions spoke volumes today:
President Trump, who has not passed one major legislation in his six months in office, looked at today’s vote as a victory.