A late night of high political drama on the floor of the U.S. Senate ended with Senate Republicans feeling frustrated that their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was thwarted by three of their own.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) cast the deciding vote, joining fellow Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and all 48 Senate Democrats in rejecting the so-called “skinny” version of the Republicans’ healthcare bill.
McCain had pledged in an emotional speech earlier in the week not to vote for a bill that would not replace the ACA with a plan that he believed would provide better, more-affordable healthcare to the American people.
The vote took place early Friday morning after several hours of riveting political theater, complete with a filibuster-like speech by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.), designed to prevent Democrats from forcing discussion of an eight-page bill that was made public at around 10 p.m. Thursday.
McCain was non-committal as he left his office for the senate floor after Enzi finished his speech, moments before the vote was called. Once he reached the floor, McCain’s every move was scrutinized on live TV.
He spent time in discussion with Senate Democrats and Murkowski before Senate Republican leaders huddled around him in what appeared to be an attempt to change his mind. Later, Vice President Mike Pence – on hand to break a 50-all tie, if needed – spent an intense 20 minutes apparently trying to lobby McCain to vote with the Republican majority and send the bill to the House of Representatives for conference negotiation.
McCain was unmoved, and during the ensuing roll call vote, he walked to the middle of the floor to announce his “no” vote. Then, he walked alone up the aisle.
The Affordable Care Act remained the law of the land Friday morning, and President Donald J. Trump tweeted his displeasure:
3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2017
Here is a roundup of the news, with a look at what’s next for the Affordable Care Act and any healthcare legislation:
- New York Times: Senate Rejects Slimmed-Down Obamacare Repeal
- Washington Post: Senate Rejects Measure to Partly Repeal ACA
- Politico: How McCain Derailed Obamacare Repeal
- The Hill: Senate ObamaCare Repeal Bill Falls
- The Guardian: Huge Blow for Trump
- CNN: Details About John McCain’s Decision to Vote No on ACA Repeal