John McCain Voted Against Bipartisanship, Not for It

Mitch McConnell

It's actually more hard to find any Republican Senator who will defend "skinny repeal" on the merits.

But no one should be fooled. But on Thursday it became a theater of the absurd when three top Republicans said they would vote for a health care bill only if House leaders guaranteed that it would not become law. Senators would have then hammered out a final bill with the House in a conference committee.

GOP leaders would craft that version behind closed doors during Congress' August recess and in early September.

Senate Republicans had approached health care very secretively, drafting bills behind closed doors without putting them through public hearings or anything that could slow the process down.

The so-called "skinny repeal" bill they proposed would have taken only parts of the ACA off the books.

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It cuts federal funding to places that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood, for a year.

"The White House doesn't support a conference, the White House really likes the skinny bill and would like it to become law", Murphy said, according to the Guardian.

After his dramatic return to the Senate this week, McCain had hoped the Senate could quickly debate and pass the defense authorization bill once health care was completed.

Votes on the measure were expected deep into the night. They say that was a protective move to give themselves flexibility, but it spooked senators and others that the House would try to move the Senate bill for a quick vote. "McCain is a fighter", said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky during a Senate floor speech Tuesday.

The Congressional Budget Office came out with estimates on Thursday evening on the legislation, projecting the number of uninsured Americans would increase by 16 million over the next decade. On Thursday, Ryan's spokesperson said that a conference committee between the House and Senate is "one option under consideration".

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The defeat effectively ends the Republican Party's seven-year bid to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act, introduced by the US President's predecessor, Barack Obama. The House would allow states to waive Obamacare's community rating measure, which would let insurers base premiums on enrollees' medical histories if they let their coverage lapse, and the essential health benefits rule.

"The American people are going to regret that we couldn't find a better way forward", Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said after the vote.

After another setback to this agenda Friday, Trump wrote, "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down". Because every repeal-and-replace bill has included these features, they won't suddenly vanish in the closed-door GOP bill-drafting sessions that will ensue if the Senate approves "skinny repeal" this week. The early Friday morning vote came after a series of unsuccessful votes by Republicans this week to repeal Obamacare. And the conference process that Senator McConnell now would use would only strengthen his hand.

With but a two-vote majority, they can only spare two defections.

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