Pence appears unfazed by McCain 'no' vote on health care
Posted September 22
Vice President Mike Pence, a key player in the administration's efforts to lobby Congress to repeal Obamacare, seemed unfazed on Friday by the latest hiccup.
Speaking to a crowd in Anderson, Indiana, about tax reform and health care, Pence indirectly addressed Republican Sen. John McCain's decision Friday afternoon to vote "no" on the latest proposal. McCain's announcement left Senate Republican leadership scrambling to cobble together enough support to move ahead.
"The vote could come as early as next week and this is not going to be easy," Pence said. "Even now, the opposition is forming up and some have gone so far to announce their opposition already. But President Trump and I are undeterred."
Pence said more than once that the Senate was supposed to be voting on the new repeal-and-replace option next week, and he described the bill as being drafted by "friends of mine," mentioning Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the architects of the latest effort.
"We cannot in good conscience abandon this cause," Pence said to applause in his home state.
In what seemed to be a comment pointed at McCain, Pence said emphatically, "Let me clear: A vote against Graham-Cassidy is a vote for Obamacare."
"The Republican majority in Congress in particular was not elected to save Obamacare, they were elected to repeal and replace it, and it is time for every member of the Republican majority to keep their word," he added.
Although President Donald Trump had yet to react, Pence's overall tone was considerably more measured than Trump's has been on the matter; the President directly attacked fellow Republicans on Twitter over past failed attempts to reform health care.
Pence touted Graham-Cassidy's merits in his remarks, saying children would be able to stay on their parent's health care plans until they are 26 years old (a holdover from Obamacare); the bill would provide the largest-ever expansion of health savings accounts; and people with pre-existing conditions would get the care and coverage they need "no exceptions."