Via the Washington Post:
Senate Republicans suffered a dramatic failure early Friday in their bid to advance a scaled-back plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, throwing into question whether they can actually repeal the 2010 health law.
Their latest effort to redraw the ACA failed after Sen. John McCain’s decision to side with two other Republicans against President Trump and GOP leaders. The Arizona Republican, diagnosed with brain cancer last week, returned to Washington on Tuesday and delivered a stirring address calling for a bipartisan approach to overhauling the ACA, while criticizing the process that produced the current legislation.
It was a speech that laid the groundwork for Friday’s dramatic vote.
The vote was 49 to 51 — all 48 members of the Democratic caucus joined with McCain and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to block the legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had hoped to approve the new, narrower rewrite of the health law at some point Friday, after facing dozens of amendments from Democrats. But the GOP defections left McConnell without a clear path forward.
“Our only regret is that we didn’t achieve what we hoped to accomplish,” McConnell said after the failed vote. In a dejected tone, he pulled the entire legislation from consideration and set up votes on nominations that will begin Monday.
“It is time to move on,” McConnell said, culminating a nearly 75-minute set of roll calls. In a last-minute rescue bid, Vice President Pence — there to be the tie-breaking vote if needed — stood at McCain’s desk for 21 minutes cajoling the senator to no avail.
McCain and Pence then walked to the Republican cloak room to confer in private and later to the lobby off the Senate chamber. When McCain returned — without Pence — he stopped in the well of the chamber, cast his “no” vote — sparking stunned gasps and some applause — and returned to his seat.
McConnell and his leadership deputies stood watching, grim-faced and despondent.
Thank you, Sens. Murkowski and Collins. A little bit of Shakespearean irony in the face of the pussy-grabber. Oh, and Sen. McCain, thank you, too, but it all could have been avoided if you had voted No earlier this week. But I guess we all need a little Thursday night/Friday morning drama, right?
As for Mitch McConnell, you earned the grim-face and despondency. Get used to it, you tortoise-faced putz.