"Now we move forward towards truly great health care for the American people... this is truly great step", President Trump said at the White House Tuesday.
The Capito and Portman votes were critical to the 51-50 vote that carried the day for the Republicans and set the stage for contentious judgment on the law commonly known as Obamacare. He flew from Arizona to Washington D.C. just for this vote and received a standing ovation upon his arrival. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opposed the legislation as did the Senate's Democrats and one Independent.
In a dramatic moment, Sen.
McCain provided momentum where there was none when he announced Monday he would return to the Senate to vote. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Sen.
Capito said in a statement that she will "continue to push for policies that result in affordable health care coverage for West Virginians, including those who are in the Medicaid population and those struggling with drug addiction".
The Senate will navigate a complicated path to reach any agreement.
The vote means the Senate will now begin debate over what a final bill will look like. That would likely get blocked.
The chamber could then field some version of the replacement plan that stalled out recently, which may also fail.
One of those compromises was an amendment proposed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, which would have allowed insurance companies to sell bare-bones plans that did not comply with the ACA.
The House bill, H.R. 1628, would wind down an expansion of Medicaid insurance for the poor and eliminate $1 trillion in taxes on the wealthy, insurers and drugmakers used to fund the law. Nor any idea of whether it can even be voted on under budget rules called reconciliation that let Republicans avoid a Democratic filibuster. It is long past time for Republicans to sit down with Democrats and work on a bipartisan solution that actually improves our healthcare system. This was dubbed "skinny repeal".
With no Democrats supporting Obamacare repeal and Republicans deeply divided on what replacement should look like, GOP leadership has put multiple provisions to lure recalcitrant members into voting "yes".
Iowa's two U.S. Senators voted in favor of the motion to proceed to health care legislation.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky had been a confirmed "no" until now.
"But I will not vote for the bill, which is today", said the Senator. But that was not the case-he voted "aye" for a bill.
McCain, on the other hand, is already facing charges of hypocrisy over his vote to advance legislation that was drafted via a process that he decried. "This was a big step", he said.
Senate Republicans would likely go for a bare-minimum "skinny repeal" only if other approaches, such as those below, can not win approval. If it passes the Senate, lawmakers from both chambers of Congress would go into conference to work through their differences.
In a series of tweets early Tuesday, Trump said Obamacare was "torturing" Americans.
One way to turn up the pressure is to call your senator. But he has often appeared disengaged on the policy details contained in the plans to overhaul the USA health-care system.