A attempt by Senate Republicans to pass health-care legislation fell early Friday after GOP Senator John McCain joined two of his colleagues to obstruct a Obamacare repeal bill.
“I regret that our efforts were simply not enough, #x 201D, & this time; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the vote. “This is a moment. ”
“It’s time to proceed, & #x 201D; after pulling the bill from the 28, he added.
The conclusion by McCain to vote no came from cancer therapy after weeks of brinkmanship and after his return to throw the 50th vote to begin debate earlier this week. The GOP’s “skinny” repeal bill was defeated 49-51, falling short. Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also voted against it.
It wasn’t what the next steps would be for the Republicans. The repeal effort had seemed to fall several times only to be revived. And several Republicans pleaded for their colleagues not to give up, even as President Donald Trump blasted the vote.
‘Let ObamaCare Implode’
“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats allow the American people down, As I said from the start, allow ObamaCare implode, then cope. Watch! ” he composed on Twitter at 2:25 am Washington time.
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said in a statement Friday he is “disappointed and frustrated” that the Senate couldn’t reach an agreement, but he urged the Senate to keep striving. “We should not give up,” he said.
Collins said in a statement the Senate should work on a strategy “in a very careful way. That means going through the process of committee hearings; receiving input from expert witnesses” and working with lawmakers in both parties. The House and Senate proposals were crafted with no public hearings or input from Democrats.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows insisted, however, that he had no intention of working with Democrats, saying the GOP-only route remains the only option. “In the end, we will prevail,” the North Carolina Republican said.
McConnell has struggled to find a compromise that satisfies conservatives, who have demanded a wholesale repeal of Obamacare, and moderates, who were unnerved by predictions the bill would boost the ranks of Americans.
Democrats immediately called for a debate on how best to fix Obamacare.
“We aren’t currently celebrating. We’re” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said after the vote. “Let’s turn the page and work together to improve our health care system. ” He also said Democrats would be willing to help expedite bipartisan laws and to progress Trump administration nominations.
Republicans have been under pressure to deliver on their repeal promises. But pleas — and threats — from the White House and conservative classes weren’t sufficient to push through the bill.
“I sadly feel a great many Americans will feel betrayed, that they were lied to, and that sentiment will not be unjustified. You cannot campaign against Obamacare and then vote for Obamacare,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said early Friday.
At a dramatic vote in the early morning hours on Friday, Collins voted no first, then Murkowski, followed by McCain, who came to the well of the Senate and gave a thumbs down, dooming the repeal bill to loud gasps, mostly from the Democratic side of the aisle. Republican leaders stood together looking grim as their back-up repeal plan seemed to collapse.
Of the three, Collins had been opposed to every GOP proposal on the table. Murkowski had also been critical of them, even after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called her and fellow Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan and threatened them with retribution on major energy and public-lands decisions if they voted against repeal.
McCain was a surprise. He has long called for repeal, but grew frustrated over the secretive process that GOP leaders employed to draft various lobbying steps. When he returned he made an impassioned speech on the Senate floor making it clear he was ready to vote against the legislation if it didn’t satisfy his concerns.
“We must now go back to the appropriate way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of country’s governors, and generate a bill that eventually delivers affordable healthcare for the American people,” McCain said in a statement after the vote. “We deserve and have to do. ”
Promises from Ryan
On Thursday evening, several Republicans were creating the argument that they would vote to advance the measure if they got guarantees it wouldn’t pass the House. House Speaker Paul Ryan assured senators that his chamber would begin a seminar negotiation if the Senate passed the bill.
McConnell released the long-awaited text of his skinny repeal bill late Thursday, only a couple of hours prior to the vote that was pivotal. It would end the requirement that individuals buy health insurance, and suspend through 2026 the requirement that it is provided by companies for their employees.
It would extend a moratorium on the tax on medical-device makers and increase the amount that individuals can contribute to accounts. The measure would defund Planned Parenthood for a single year.
The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that the bill could cause an extra 15 million Americans without health insurance. It also said the measure would reduce the national deficit by $178.8 billion over a decade.
The defeat of this “skinny” repeal bill came after different measures put forward by GOP leaders were also blocked.
The Senate rejected a fuller repeal of Obamacare 45-55 Wednesday. Seven Republicans voted against it, including Senate Health Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and McCain. Late Tuesday, a 43-57 Senate vote swept aside a revised version of McConnell’s Obamacare replacement, a measure negotiated during weeks of tense GOP talks.
Republicans had said Thursday their strategy was to get the “skinny” bill through the Senate and negotiate with the House on a agreement to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Passing this legislation will enable us to work together with our colleagues in the House toward a last bill that may go to the president, repeal Obamacare, and undo its damage,” McConnell said Thursday night on the Senate floor. “I urge everyone to support it. ”
By Friday morning, McConnell admitted defeat, saying his & #x 201C; #x 201D & only regret; is that they failed.
Several Senate Republicans said they hoped #x 2019 & this wasn;t the end of the debate.
“I am disappointed to fix our broken healthcare system,” Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said in a statement. “Congress must not give up on repealing and replacing the failed health care law. ”
A crestfallen Bill Cassidy said he expects Democrats are now interested in working on a deal, like the one he developed with Collins.
“I’ve attempted previously, as has Susan, to have a dialogue. It hasn’t. Maybe this had to happen to begin to have a dialogue,” the Louisiana Republican said.