McCain Returns To Senate To Vote On Something, Anything Health Care [VIDEO]

McCain Returns To Senate To Vote On Something, Anything Health Care [VIDEO]

McCain Returns To Senate To Vote On Something, Anything Health Care [VIDEO]

The GOP leadership is desperate to get some kind of Obamacare repeal plan passed through the Senate. Senator John McCain, whose sad diagnosis of brain cancer was announced last week, is even returning to the Senate for the health care vote.

Senators McCain and McConnell (file photo: AP)

The real problem is…. which bill is the Senate voting on, exactly???

As the initial vote approached, it remained unclear exactly which version of the legislation Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would put in play. Republicans expect McCain to support taking up the measure, and his mere presence could make it harder for wavering Republicans to cast a vote against even considering the bill.

Keeping pressure on GOP senators, McConnell noted that many “made commitments to our constituents to provide relief from this failed left-wing experiment. And now we have a real opportunity to keep those commitments.” He added, “I hope everyone will seize the moment.”

Is this the “clean repeal” bill, or the “repeal and replace later” bill, or….??? No one quite seems to know what it will be.

And does the president care? Not really. He just wants something voted on in order to point at it.


Step one is at least starting debate, and it looks like the GOP has scraped up enough votes for that.

Conservative Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and vulnerable incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) all said they would support debate on the bill during a GOP lunch ahead of the vote. The movement made Republicans increasingly optimistic they can at least get 50 votes to start debate.

“I’ve been asking for a clean repeal and the first amendment to the bill is clean repeal so I’m a yes,” Paul said. Asked whether he thinks the GOP has the votes to open debate, Paul replied: “Yes.”

Only 50 votes are needed to begin debate on the bill.

Paul’s vote was conditioned on the party agreeing to move quickly to a vote on repealing without a replacement. The other amendment would be a leadership-designed repeal and replace bill, he said.

Heller said his support for whatever emerges later is not assured.

“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.

Capito said she is “committed to reforming our health care system” while also addressing her concerns, which have centered on Medicaid.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) remains the firmest “no” vote on the procedural vote. McConnell can only afford to lose two GOP votes.

Senators undecided on the bill entering the vote included Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mike Lee of Utah, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Asked whether he will vote to proceed, Johnson replied: “To what?”

“Kind of need to know what the game plan is,” he said.

This is all a very tricky, bait-and-switch mess that the GOP has gotten itself into. And they are truly between a rock and a hard place. With no vote, they fail to deliver on the campaign promises to repeal Obamacare that they’ve been running on since 2010. Vote and pass something, and then the GOP owns whatever comes next, with Democrats salivating over the prospect in the wings. We’ll have to see what kind of guts the GOP has right now.

UPDATE 12:30 PM PDT:
Let the debating begin!


Senators Collins and Murkowski voted no. And this is only to get the debate started.

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