The return of the John McCain and a tiebreaker 51-50 vote from Vice President Mike Pence sent the Republican health care plan ahead to begin debate on the Senate floor on Tuesday (July 25).
In the end, it was two Republicans who voted against the motion to proceed on the health bill drafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska expressed their dissatisfaction with the bill and the process behind it by voting against the bill.
It was up to vice president Pence to break the tie and, thanks to his confirmation vote, the much-debated bill will be able to be discussed on the Senate floor. According to CNBC, McConnell said he wasn’t celebrating yet and expects to pass the bill through the Senate and back to the House by the end of the week.
Return of McCain
Sen. John McCain also made his return to the Senate floor and delivered a crucial vote for the survival of the bill. However, McCain expressed his disappointment with the current state of the Senate and the severe lack of bipartisan work. McCain was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (July 19) a common form of brain cancer, according to Stat News.
“The procedural vote starts a complicated period in which senators will float varying alternatives for reshaping Obamacare,” CNBC reported.
An original critic of the bill, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, voted in favor of opening debate on the Senate.
“If the final product isn’t improved for the state of Nevada, then I will not vote for it; if it is improved, I will support it,” Heller said in a statement.
Despite going through several revisions including a proposing a heavy amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz, in one way or another the congressional budget office (CBO) has revealed in their scores millions of people would lose insurance compared to the current law.
For the revised McConnell bill the CBO said by 2026 22 million people would be uninsured and an estimated 82 percent of US residents under 65 would have insurance, compared to the projected 90 percent from the current law.
During the vote protesters made their ‘don’t kill us, kill the bill!’ and ‘shame’ chants loud enough to disrupt the voting process on the Senate floor.
CLIP: Protesters yell “Kill the bill” and “Shame” from the Senate gallery. C-SPAN does not control cameras in the Senate. pic.twitter.com/isif8byuGO
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 25, 2017
President Donald Trump celebrated the vote during a press conference, telling reporters he was grateful for McCain’s return.
“I think you’re going to have a great health care. This is the beginning of the end for the disaster known as Obamacare,” Trump said.
Medical companies have championed a change from Obamacare and it seems now things are closer than ever to this appeal process. Several patient and medical associations have come out against the current form of the bill.
Every major patients’ rights group in the country took out a full-page ad in today’s New York Times to urge a No vote on Obamacare repeal. pic.twitter.com/qnijHJnqJk
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) July 24, 2017
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.