GOP Obamacare Repeal Bill Fails in Dramatic Late-Night Vote

WASHINGTON D.C. — The Senate has dealt a devastating setback to Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, defeating a GOP “skinny repeal” bill early Friday morning.

Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins joined with Democrats to oppose the measure, a major blow to President Donald Trump and the Republican congressional agenda.

McCain, who had voted for a motion to proceed to the bill Monday after returning to Washington following surgery for a brain tumor, held out all day, including in a news conference where he criticized the partisan process that led to the after-midnight vote.

His surprise vote came after a prolonged drama on the Senate floor. Multiple Republican colleagues, including Vice President Mike Pence, engaged in animated conversations with the Arizona senator who has long cherished his reputation as a maverick.

At one point before the final vote, Trump called Pence, who handed the phone to McCain, a source briefed on the call told CNN. The call, just off the Senate floor, was brief and ultimately unsuccessful.

Republican lawmakers have had several fits and starts this year, including a dramatic vote in the Senate on Monday — but the failure lays bare a hard-to-swallow political reality for Republicans after months of painful negotiations and soul-searching: There is little will left in the GOP to gut a health care law that the party has been railing against for seven years.

Speaking after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell looked stunned and lamented the vote and the inability of the GOP to fulfill its long-term campaign pledge.

“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” McConnell said. “Our constituents have suffered through an awful lot under Obamacare. 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. And when the moment came, when the moment came, most of us did.”

“It’s time to move on,” he said, moving the Senate on to the defense authorization bill.

President Trump in an early morning tweet reacted to the Senate vote, writing “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”

After the vote, McCain called for a return to the committee process and criticized the partisan manner of the current health care effort — harkening back to his emotional floor speech Tuesday when he returned to Washington.

“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote,” McCain said in a statement. “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”

How it failed

Shortly before 10 p.m. ET, Republican leaders finally unveiled legislation that had been closely guarded from the public — as well as their own colleagues — for days.

The legislation, referred to as a “skinny repeal” bill, would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates and temporarily repeal the medical device tax. The bill would also give states more flexibility to allow insurance that doesn’t comply with Obamacare regulations.

CNN Money: What’s in the Senate ‘skinny repeal’ health care bill?

The bill would mean 15 million more people would be uninsured next year than under Obamacare, with 16 million more in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released late Thursday night. Premiums would jump 20% next year, compared to current law.

But just hours away from a vote, which ultimately ended close to 2 a.m. ET, the Republicans were still in trouble.

McCain and several of his colleagues had thrown the Republican negotiations into turmoil earlier in the day, when they threatened to scuttle the bill unless they were offered guarantees that the House would enter negotiations after the Senate passed it. The fear was that the House would end up passing the “skinny bill” rather than a more comprehensive effort.

In an early afternoon press conference, GOP senators savaged the “skinny repeal” bill.

“I’m not going to vote for a bill that is terrible policy and politics just to get something done,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a news conference, joined by McCain, Ron Johnson and Bill Cassidy.

Shortly after that news conference, Ryan responded that the House would be willing to go to a conference committee but his carefully crafted statement did not include a specific guarantee that the House would not vote on the Senate’s proposal. It appeared aimed at moving the process forward while protecting House Republicans from being blamed if should the entire process collapses.

“The burden remains on the Senate to demonstrate that it is capable of passing something that keeps our promise, as the House has already done,” Ryan said. “Until the Senate can do that, we will never be able to develop a conference report that becomes law.”

Ryan also held a conference call with some of the Senate holdouts. Graham and Johnson backed the GOP plan. But McCain wasn’t moving.

“I think John is rightfully upset with the process and whatever he does, he’s earned the right to do it,” Graham told reporters.

As he received a barrage of questions from reporters about the Senate’s strategy of passing something that it doesn’t ultimately want the House to pass, Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranked Republican, came back with this quip: “I guess we ought to go back to Schoolhouse Rock.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, leader of the House Freedom Caucus, the group of conservatives who can help pass or sink a health care bill in the House, also said he doesn’t like a skinny-only plan.

“Am I gonna send a skinny health care plan to the President for him to sign? The answer is absolutely not,” Meadows told reporters.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Ryan’s statement was insufficient as well.

“That is not worth anything,” Schumer, D-New York, said on the Senate floor. “They want to pass this bill, skinny repeal, and send it to the President.”

Threat to Murkowski?

Leadership’s careful maneuvering — a “high-wire act,” Cornyn called it Wednesday — came as the Trump administration was pursuing a different tact, according to a report in the Alaska Dispatch News.

According to that report, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and informed them that Murkowski’s opposition to the vote Tuesday to start a debate “put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.”

Murkowski chairs the panel that’s jurisdiction includes oversight of the Interior Department — and Zinke.

The other Republican who voted against Tuesday’s motion, Maine’s Susan Collins, said she has not heard from the White House since that vote.

Asked directly if she’s received any threats from the White House, Collins said, “No.”

68 comments

  • Archie Beal

    Oh let me apologize…I made a mistake…I am not the only one…It appears your parents made a mistake also…Allow me to rectify…Government needs to control everything because people in today’s society sure as hell can’t think and manage themselves…it is a proven fact…let government have control

  • Archie Beal

    Government needs to control everything because people in today’s society sure as he’ll can’t think and manage themselves…it is a proven fact…let government have control

    • Rurbanite

      And some people sure as he’ll can’t spell, or care enough about their readers to correct their automatic spell Czechs.

  • Rurbanite

    Thank you Senator McCain. A real hero, a “Profile in Courage” along with Senators Collins and Murkowski. There are still some decent and humane people in public life.

    • Silverfish Imperetrix

      Lumpy McChipmunk’s a real ‘hero’, alright. Just like when he was captured…he gave the North Vietnamese info that led to the downing of 60 of our planes, helped train their anti-aircraft personnel, and participated in 30 anti-American broadcasts over their radio network (he tried to have that ‘classified’ when he got in the Senate). He himself admitted that he was a “war criminal”, yet President Nixon pardoned him. The Keating Five? That was Lumpy and FOUR DEMOCRATS. He has traitor in his DNA.

  • Dave

    Complain Complain…..But if Republicans got their way you would be paying more for it….Or have you not been paying attention.. The only way out of this is Single Payer and not one republican would vote for that.. So they crawl back in their hole and do noting to help the avg American ,because you don’t pay attention and will Blame Obama for giving it his best shot,, .. Go ahead and Vote for Big business ..Dig yourself into a deeper hole ..You get what you deserve…

  • Are you kidding!?!

    Obamacare is going to crash and burn. The Democrats own it. Keep voting for Democrats, Ideas so good they have to be mandatory.
    Unfortunately, It is getting harder to tell the Republicans from the Democrats anymore. Two cheeks of the same Butt.

    • Rurbanite

      The Democrats are the first to admit the Affordable Care Act is not perfect but they are willing to work on a bipartisan basis to reform it. The “skinny repeal” the GOP proposed was an exercise in surreal absurdity. They voted for it in the hope that it would never get passed. Orwellian. All this deception and drama is squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans and their buffoon of a President, whose motto seems to be “the buck passes here and so does my gas.”

      • Silverfish Imperetrix

        A “bipartisan basis”? You mean like they jammed it down our throats without ONE Republican vote? LOLOL

  • Deplorable

    Ohh btw could it be that the healthcare system is ripping us off? I took my 2 month old to a specialist apointment which lasted a hour and was a complete joke and they billed my insurance 7000 dollars and cost me a 900 copay. Thats as much as the hospital bill when she was born. And just heard from a freind about someone who was admitted to the hospital at 9am and dead at noon and they just got a 10000 dollar bill. And that was without any emergancy services.

    • tomtom

      That’s because you are an idiot. Just don’t pay. If you are a minority, case closed. Bad Debt Write Off.

      • great idea

        Great idea. Your mother should do the same thing with her mortgage payment so you get foreclosed out of the basement.

  • Had Enough

    Some days I wish Trump was a Nazi fascist, cause then he would round up all these liberal morons and have them killed or imprisoned. We can only hope he becomes the lie you all tell.

    • ***

      why would you even wish something like that? You are truly whats wrong with this country. I hope you do not have children, or family because your DNA should just stop right in its track and just die off. You are in fact so uneducated that you have no idea the chaos and havoc this bill would have been on insurance companies and how is would affect them IMMEDIATELY. When AHIP (if you even know who that is) writes a letter saying DO NOT DO THIS BECAUSE IT WILL SCREW EVERYONE. you know its bad. Apparently you’re too busy sucking the farts thats come out of Donalds you know what to ever look into what they are actually voting on. Good day!

      • Had Enough

        Because liberals are destroying this country with their match towards socialism and thus more government control of our daily lives. Government needs to stay out of healthcare. No more paying for people who refuse to do their part. Healthcare isn’t a right.

      • Had Enough

        BTW… I’m not a Trump supporter. I’m for freedom and choice. Not government regulation, be it Blue or Red. If you couldn’t tell the Fascist Nazi thing was poking fun at the lefts constant desperate attempts to lie about Trump. He is trying to MAGA, but the left and traitor repubs keep blocking him just to spite.

  • Bob Moran

    Republicans in this thread…

    July, 2017: “McCain is an idiot!”
    November, 2008: “VOTE McCAIN!!!!”

    • FracingA

      Bob Moron,
      July, 2017: “McCain is an idiot!”
      November, 2008: “VOTE McCAIN!!!!”
      Above is True..One should Vote for who is best for America. In 2008, McCain > 0. Sadly McCain lost & now look @ this mess we are in. McCain obviously has some head issues now so it is what it is. OCare nothing more than a redistribution of wealth that continues to kill the middle class.

  • Kat

    The “implanted chips” have already been manufactured. If the demon Democrats get their way, people will be getting theirs soon. Research it if you don’t believe me. That’s their plan for their single payer health system.

  • magicmikexxsm

    Thanks McCain…….you P.O.S….come next year I’m dropping my Geisinger health plan…..@ $869.00 a month I can just imagine what it will be next year….

    • Silverfish Imperetrix

      What’s sad is you’re paying for illegals and wastrels’ insurance. Never forget the words of Rep. Joe Wilson when he yelled “YOU LIE!” during Soetoro’s SOTU address, when he said that 0bamacare would never pay for illegals’ insurance. Those are valuable Democrat votes there.

  • Lloyd schmucatelli

    If it was such a good deal, there wouldn’t be the threat of a tax penalty to enforce compliance. Plain and simple. 07141789.

  • McCain is a dope as are the rest

    This is great news for all people in favor of repealing this garbage! Let it fail on its own and then just never reinstate it! Best part is they can’t blame this administration for not attempting to fix it!

  • Proletariat

    This is fantastic. McCain finally did something right.

    Obamacare needs amended, not repealed. Medicare expansion shouldn’t have been optional and a public option is needed. Insurance companies need to be brought down a peg and wrangled. Hopefully one day destroyed with a single-payer system.

    • magicmikexxsm

      PROLETARIAT lol you voted for Hillary didn’t you…so you like the feds telling what you can and can’t do in regards to your health….like in the charlie guard case in the UK….because that’s exactly what will happen here also under single payer system………idiot..

      • Conroy

        Every single comment you make opens up with “you voted for Hilary didn’t you” like it’s all black and white. Lots of people hate Hillary but voted for her because it was the lesser of two evils. I would have rather had McCain than Hillary. But when it comes down to lying Hillary or child like sociopath trump I’m gonna chose Hillary.

      • CeeMe

        I voted for Trump, but I’m still glad this got voted down. From your comments, you don’t know anything about universal healthcare, of which Obamacare and Trumpcare, are neither, and if you think the insurance companies don’t decide what you will and will not do, you’re a fool. BTW, Congress gets excellent healthcare funded by the taxpayers, but “single-payer medicine is a no-no. Right.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    This is bad. We haven’t even begun to feel the fall out of this.

    It’s going to keep people out of the hospitals due to deductibles and the welfare rate will swarm more than usual.

    Just wait until 3-4-5 years down the road when these 6-8-$10,000 deductibles start piling up year after year. That’s when shyt’s gonna hit the fan. The common man doesn’t have 6k laying around to meet these deductibles and certainly won’t have it next year when he’s trying to still pay for this years deductible.

    This is an obamination is what it is.

  • Deplorable

    Wow this site is full of liberal morons middle class small buisness owner here and obama care forced me to let all my help go . Just sayin… and i guess they should of removed the other half of mccains brain to while they were at it becuase its not doin him anygood. All you steal from the rich to give to the poor need to wipe your liberal tears and go out and get it for yourself

  • Silverfish Imperetrix

    McCain’s been an incompetent traitor all his life. He couldn’t change if he wanted to.

  • GET INFORMED

    Don’t forget that all these bills have three things in common: 1) They are, at their core, simply billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2) Do nothing to address the health needs of the middle class and 3) Do nothing at all to control the root reasons for the out of control expenses for insurance, care and drugs. These plans are just political whooey to make the rich richer and the sick sicker. Because they package it as anti “Obama”, it is political “red-meat” to the the shrinking Trump base (who ironically will most suffer under these laws should they pass.)

  • Archie Beal

    These political clowns need to be planning on how to repeal and replace the 2nd and 4th ammendments, rather than wasting their time with this Obama care. The out of control and lax laws on firearms is what is allowing people to be slaughtered at an alarming rate. Not this useless health care bill.

    • You Are A Tool

      Constitution protect the right to self defense and unlawful seizer.,.. healthcare isn’t a right.
      You are all for Fascist control where the government can bust down your door and kill your family for your land.

    • Schizophrenia

      So TomTurd, how do you keep it all straight – switching back and forth between the Archie and Tom persona? You really shouldn’t compliment yourself though, it’s a dead giveaway. Of course, you’re a Democrat so you like giveaways.

  • Buffoons

    The Republicans have no idea how to lead! They have control of the house and senate and still flounder around like a bunch of buffoons. They might as well let the DemocRATS back in charge of both houses because they aren’t accomplishing anything as it is.
    Sickening!

    • El Ma

      I have to agree with your observation. I hold no party ties, whatsoever, and I never intend to.

      And, I have to applaud McCain’s comment on legislation. There always have been party lines, of course. But, his point is well-made. Lawmakers need to begin discussing the bills that are proposed, rather than digging in their heels and resorting to bullying tactics. Some give-and-take could have possibly made positive changes.

      • cure for insomnia

        Having trouble sleeping? Staying up too late? Just read one of EL MA’s diatribes and bloviations… Snore…

    • SMELL THE CESSPOOL

      The Republicans have no vision except to do what their corporate lords tell them to do to keep receiving their money. You, as a middle class American are a nuisance to the GOP but sure they will throw you “red meat” once in a while (like guns and abortion) to keep you distracted from the harm they are wreaking on your life.

      • El Ma

        Distracted, indeed. That’s what all of this SJW and BLM nonsense is – distraction. If a dog chases it’s tail long enough, that rabbit in the yard will sit right down in front of it to eat the grass without any fear of getting caught.

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