Political News

Gasps, appeals: 5 top moments from Obamacare repeal vote

Posted July 28

Here's a look at the five top moments on the Senate floor early Friday during a vote on a "skinny repeal" bill to scrap key components of Obamacare.

John McCain gives a thumbs down

Audible gasps and applause broke out during the nail-biting vote when Sen. John McCain rejected the "skinny repeal" bill on the Senate floor.

What's in the Senate 'skinny repeal' health care bill?

During roll call, when senators names are read out loud in alphabetical order, McCain wasn't there when his name was called. Moments later, McCain entered the room, walked to the person who does the roll call, and tried to get his attention by raising his hand.

He said "no," with a thumbs down that shocked many in the room. Cheers broke out as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stood nearby with his arms folded.

McCain later said in a statement that he believed Obamacare should be repealed, but that the skinny repeal bill "offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens."

Pence hands McCain phone call from Trump

Before the vote got underway, a dramatic scene played out on the Senate floor.

It was unclear whether Republicans had enough votes to push the measure through. Vice President Mike Pence was in animated conversations with McCain.

At one point before the final vote, as McCain huddled with Pence, President Donald Trump called to try a final effort to sway McCain, a source briefed on the call told CNN. Trump called Pence, who handed the phone to McCain for a short discussion. The call took place just off the Senate floor.

McConnell: "It's time to move on"

After the vote, McConnell lamented the defeat of the "skinny repeal" bill, calling it "clearly a disappointing moment."

As he closed his remarks, he said, "it's time to move on," -- although it was unclear if he meant the Senate will move on from repealing Obamacare.

Collins and Murkowski vote no

Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the "skinny repeal" bill. They were also the only two GOP senators to vote against the procedural vote Tuesday.

As the roll call vote proceeded, McCain went and stood with Murkowski.

Schumer's emotional appeal

"We are not celebrating, we are relieved," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.

He looked at McCain during his speech.

"All of us were so inspired," the Democrat said, briefly pausing and choking back in an emotional moment, "by the speech and by the life of the senator from Arizona."

The dramatic return of John McCain

He echoed sentiments from the speech McCain made this week and called for bipartisanship. If the Senate could start working "the way it had always worked, with both sides to blame for deterioration, we will do a better job for our country," Schumer said.

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