John McCain Kills Obamacare Repeal With Single Decisive Vote

In the end it was not meant to be: Senate Republicans failed, by a single vote, to pass a month-long effort to pass Republican healthcare legislation culminating with a vote on a "skinny" bill to repeal Obamacare thanks to a single decisive vote by Donald Trump's nemesis, John McCain.

In a devastating blow to President Trump and his healthcare agenda, Senate Republicans voted 49 to 51 to pass a slimmed down bill put forward as a last gasp effort to overhaul the US healthcare system, leaving the fate of Obamacare in the hands of Democrats and the general public.

Voting shortly after midnight, John McCain – who returned to the Senate on Tuesday after undergoing emergency surgery related to brain cancer – joined known repeal holdouts, GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) in opposing Health Care Freedom Act, HR 1628, the pared-down measure that would have repealed key parts of ObamaCare. Ironically, McCain cast the "no" vote two days after a dramatic return to the Senate floor during which he called on his colleagues to work together on major issues such as healthcare reform, which has long been a Senate tradition until the upsurge of partisanship in recent years.

McCain’s vote stunned many Republicans including Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.), who said he thought the Arizona Republican was in favor of the legislation. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told reporters, “I’m shocked at this.”

Vice President Pence was spotted lobbying McCain on the Senate floor shortly before the crucial vote. He also worked on Collins while other GOP leaders focused on Murkowski.

But those efforts fell short, as in the end it was personal for McCain, who emerged this year as one of President Trump’s most outspoken critics in Congress and the late-night healthcare vote cements his status as a maverick, a role he relished earlier in his career when President George W. Bush occupied the White House.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said McCain was wrestling with the decision all day but in the end would not budge. “He had made up his mind and I’m not sure there was much that could have been done about it,” he said.

McCain declined to “go through my thought process” when reporters asked him about his vote. Moments later, when asked why he voted no, McCain responded "Because I thought it was the right vote."

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Earlier in the night, the CBO announced that the bare-bones healthcare proposal, dubbed the “skinny” repeal because it left untouched big sections of ObamaCare, would have resulted in 16 more million people being without insurance in a decade, while boosting premiums by 20%.

“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” said a visibly choked up Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, who pulled the health plan after the failed vote. McConnell appeared almost distraught after McCain’s surprise vote and seemed close to choking up on the floor after falling short of his promise to repeal ObamaCare. “I regret that our efforts were simply not enough this time. Now, I imagine many of our colleagues on the other side are celebrating. Probably pretty happy about all this. But the American people are hurting, and they need relief.”

"It’s time to move on," McConnell added in remarks on Senate floor, adding that President Trump, VP Mike Pence "couldn’t have been more helpful" in effort. The majority leader said that he now he wants to hear what Democrats’ plans are "and we’ll see what the American people think about their ideas"

The failure came despite President Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to pressure his congressional counterparts into action. Some Republicans, however, pointed a finger of blame at the White House for showing insufficient leadership and limited interest in the details. Shortly after the vote, Trump condemned the three republicans who voted against the bill as "letting the American people down."

Republicans had hoped to send the eight-page Health Care Freedom Act back to the House, where Speaker Paul Ryan had reportedly told senators he will have the House go to conference for further modification, instead of immediately passing the repeal as-is when it arrived back in his chamber of the legislature. But Ryan’s pledge was no guarantee that such a step would succeed in substantially altering the nature of the bill, which could still have ultimately proceeded to Mr Trump’s desk to be signed into law without any changes were it approved by enough Republicans in the House. As we noted on Thursday evening, McCain had voiced concerns over this possibility earlier in the evening.

The failed vote leaves Republicans facing a potential backlash from parts of their voter base, who have been told by lawmakers in four consecutive election cycles since 2010 that they were determined to abolish Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms. As the FT notes, Republican leaders now have the options of seeking to resurrect their plans or making a fresh start by trying modify Obamacare in collaboration with Democrats, who have acknowledged its imperfections but insist on defending its core features.


doctor10 nmewn Fri, 07/28/2017 - 07:03 Permalink

Its is a despicable indictment of the US Congress that an internationally insane Russian sanctions Bill passes OVERNIGHT by a wide majority, legislation most Americans could either care less about, or if pointedly asked, would oppose.

Now the logical repeal of a noxious piece of legislation which by far and away the majority of Americans would see flushed, takes months of foot dragging by a surly House and Senate leadership who then refuse to rally the members to do their damn job and represent the American people.

In reply to by nmewn

froze25 (not verified) doctor10 Fri, 07/28/2017 - 07:16 Permalink

McCain, you Globalist scum. Couldn't even do this. You said you would repeal it. This is on you.  This will now be used as the reason the working people of what's left of the middle class can't get Tax relief. 

In reply to by doctor10

Theosebes Goodfellow VinceFostersGhost Fri, 07/28/2017 - 08:42 Permalink

Ah, John McCain, poster boy for the repeal of the 17th Amendment. And you know this is all about Trump knocking him for having been a POW. You could never accuse McCain of being... magnanimous. It just isn't in him, even if it means fucking over the entire nation. What a useless prick. I think the doctors who operated on him botched the job removing the tumor. They should have amputated at the neck.

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

Oh regional Indian merizobeach Fri, 07/28/2017 - 09:33 Permalink

If this is what the CBO said :" Earlier in the night, the CBO announced that the bare-bones healthcare proposal, dubbed the “skinny” repeal because it left untouched big sections of ObamaCare, would have resulted in 16 more million people being without insurance in a decade, while boosting premiums by 20%."then can someone explain why this repeal is a bad thing? Boosting premiums by 20%? Large portions of Ocare untouched? How is that good?Bettr to take the thing full on rather than this skinny thing and claim a victory, isn't it?Seriously confused....

In reply to by merizobeach

bigkahuna Oh regional Indian Fri, 07/28/2017 - 09:54 Permalink

ORI- I believe U R correct.John McCain is a pos. He did keep his red team off the hook when it crashes though.I suspect that this was the intent all along - only mcstain and mcconnel know that one for sure. mcstain is on his way off the island - so he is the one to take the dive on this one.The longer bozocare stays on the books - the more contractors and other small businesses are going to be ruined. Each day bozo care is clearing out more and more independant contractors and entrpreneurs. Full repael is required - nothing less.This is dc (death cult) destroying the American middle class for th love of fiat. Fuck dc. Repeal dc.

In reply to by Oh regional Indian

NAV Oh regional Indian Fri, 07/28/2017 - 11:15 Permalink

You are screaming warnings at the people as their train is headed toward the cliff. But they are drinking their martinis and can’t be bothered. None of them are listening. The truth is, McConnell and Ryan are just as guilty as McCain. Skinny Obamacare is a ruse, a diversion; a pretense to repeal, only at a higher premium. The Establishment won again. Mitch McConnell planned it this way; he waited for McCain to come in for the vote. For decades, Republicans always "lose" by one vote in the Congress.In politics it’s counting votes that forms the policy and people like McCain always have their vote for hire. And so a vote on healthcare just means that somewhere else, in his case, is a vote in exchange for war. McCain gave them his vote against the Skinny so that somebody else could give him a vote for war. That’s what he gets in return -- war -- as Ukraine and Russia and the Middle East hang in the balance.

In reply to by Oh regional Indian

landauer NAV Fri, 07/28/2017 - 16:23 Permalink

Close. Repealing the ACA would be unthinkable to mainstream Republicans, who would never attack a corporate scam designed by the Heritage Foundation. A fake socialist like Obama was needed to sell it to primarily urban Americans, which he did very well. A big part of that sell was rallying the public against Republican hostility. Any Republican president thereafter had to have campaigned on a repeal-and-replace basis. Once elected, an elaborate game had to take place to make sure this didn't happen. The divisive strangeness of Trump lends itself to games of this type, which is why he was chosen over a conventional Republican. The Hollywood drama of McCain's vote should ring alarm bells. Does he even have cancer? I'd give him another decade.

In reply to by NAV

SMG VinceFostersGhost Fri, 07/28/2017 - 09:49 Permalink

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” ? Marcus Tullius Cicero

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

Just Another V… VinceFostersGhost Fri, 07/28/2017 - 11:13 Permalink

     The GSoros/Clintin connection.…     Leaving a burning ship. .…       Can't escape fast enough leaving death and destruction all around.       From record numbers of plane wrecks ... to an academic performance at the bottom of the class.

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

j0nx FrozenGoodz (not verified) Fri, 07/28/2017 - 07:59 Permalink

Have to agree with top knot here. Trump's constant twitter rants and inability to get his own house in order is not boding well for his Presidency. Even I am getting tired of the constant bullshit and excuses and I am one of his staunchest supporters. Time to start draining and stop complaining. And McCain's vote should be nulled and voided due to brain injury. He shouldn't even be allowed to be present in Congress as he is not in his right faculties.

In reply to by FrozenGoodz (not verified)

null j0nx Fri, 07/28/2017 - 08:05 Permalink

So because you don't understand what is Actually required to drain the swamp, you want them to just make a half ass effort at it and fail?

He is outnumbered 666:1 and you are disappointed with his tweeting
And "bullshit". Wow, hope you are not indicative of a non-commie.

In reply to by j0nx

Billy the Poet j0nx Fri, 07/28/2017 - 09:09 Permalink

Even I am getting tired of the constant bullshit and excuses and I am one of his staunchest supporters Why tell such a useless lie? I am not one of Trump's staunchest supporters but I obvious like him better than you do as do million of others. You could have said that you used to support Trump and now you've backed off but this "staunchest supporter" bullshit is just that -- bullshit.

In reply to by j0nx

Give Me Some Truth FrozenGoodz (not verified) Fri, 07/28/2017 - 08:32 Permalink

Re: Trump's record of doing what he said he was going to do ...I note You are getting three times as many down votes as up votes, but your statement is correct. Trump promised to repeal ObamaCare. I would say this was Promise No. 1 in the campaign. Sure, he has excuses for why he wasn't able to fulfill his promise. One thing I never heard him say on the campaign trail:"Now I'm going to make a lot of promises, and most of them won't come to fruition. But folks I'm great at making excuses and you'll hear a lot of them from me once I'm elected. Anyway, all of these things I say I'm going to make happen, we know they won't happen. But that's okay. It won't be my fault. Right? Am I right? We're going to make some excuses and need some excuses and I'm not the kind of guy who makes excuses or needs excuses because I get things done I say I'm going to get done. No excuses needed in my administration! We're going to get tired of winning. Except for when we lose. Which probably will be a lot, but there will be reasons for this. Lots of good excuses. But we don't need excuses do we? Capice?"And the crowd goes wild: "Donald! Donald! Donald! Make America Great Again!"   

In reply to by FrozenGoodz (not verified)