The latest attempt of the U.S. Senate to repeal Obamacare has failed.
Just before 1:00 am local time (2:00 am at the U.S. Capitol), the U.S. Senate voted on its newest effort to overturn Obamacare—an amendment that was a scaled-back version of the repeal dubbed the “skinny repeal.”
The amendment failed by a vote of 51-49, with Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska siding with the Democrats, who all voted against the repeal. Inexplicably, both McCain and Murkowski voted for a much more comprehensive repeal of Obamacare repeal in 2015.
Obviously, Senators Richard Shelby and Luther Strange from Alabama both voted for the repeal, as did every other conservative in the Senate. Even moderates like Lindsay Graham from SC, who initially signaled hesitancy, eventually supported the amendment.
Senator Strange expressed his displeasure with the bill’s failure stating,
“After leading the fight against Obamacare as Attorney General, I came to Washington expecting my colleagues to deliver on the promise they had made to the American people. In Alabama, your word is your bond, and tonight I kept my promise. Words cannot express my disappointment that a few Senators failed to keep theirs. For me, the fight goes on.”
Senator Shelby concurred,
“I am disappointed that the Senate could not agree on a bill intended to help millions of Americans escape Obamacare’s burdens. Obamacare has led to skyrocketing costs and collapsing insurance markets. The status quo is unsustainable. Republicans made a promise to the American people to repeal and replace this failing law, and while many of us have worked to keep that promise, our efforts were unsuccessful.”
“We have missed a vital opportunity to provide relief from a flawed law on the verge of collapse. The American people deserve better. They deserve health care reform that actually works.”
President Trump likewise articulated his frustration at the Senate vote, Tweeting, “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
As Twitter explodes in angry protest, many are blaming Republicans, who’ve certainly stumbled in keeping their number one campaign promise from 2016. Nevertheless, when liberal Republicans like McCain, Collins, and Murkowski side with the Democrats, the only way Republicans can make real progress is to widen their Senate majority at the polls in 2018.
To that end, Bret Baier of Fox News noted that 13 Democrats are up for re-election in the U.S. Senate in states dominated by counties in which 80% of voters supported President Trump in the 2016 election. Those Democrat Senators, Baier speculated, are likely to feel the wrath of increasingly frustrated Americans who continue to watch the Senate block conservative legislation the President advocates.
Meanwhile, Americans wait on additional health care premium increases under Obamacare next year.
The Republican-controlled Congress will now have to struggle with where to go from here on health care. Ted Cruz speculated that the full repeal and replace effort might be back on the table but all that’s certain tonight is that the Senate has again failed to free the country from Obamacare.