For people who casually follow politics, John McCain‘s actions this week may have been confusing, but in reality, the Arizona Republican senator dissed the GOP, Mitch McConnell, and President Donald Trump. Rarely has one senator held this type of power over a single issue, but McCain ended the GOP’s attempt to remove healthcare from tens of millions of people.
Earlier in the week, after returning from a minor surgery that revealed a brain tumor, people questioned a vote by McCain to formally launch a debate on the health care bill. People took this as McCain siding with the GOP, but what many do not realize is, voting to start a debate is new. Previously, the debate would just begin. There was no vote. So by casting a vote, it was to get the discussion started, not that he was siding with the GOP and their quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
While he voted for the discussion, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine Senator Susan Collins joined the Democrats in voting against the discussion, which landed the Alaska Senator in hot water with the president. However, the president did not think things through attacking someone who heads a committee that confirms many of Trumps picks for his administration. CDA News reported on Trump attacking Murkowski on Twitter earlier this week.
On Friday, the GOP attempted to repeal Obamacare and they fully expected to have the votes needed to end the healthcare program that tens of millions of people rely on for affordable health care, and replace it with nothing. The GOP has no plan in place to replace healthcare. Even if Collins and Murkowski voted with the Democrats again, Trump had the deciding vote in Vice President Mike Pence. However things did not go the Republican’s way.
Majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky was standing up front, relaying the votes from Republicans, looking as smug as a cat that ate the canary. As expected Collins voted against the repeal, and Pence was hanging around in case he was needed. As the vote was called for, one by one, alphabetically, the votes were falling as expected. As they closed in on the M’s, John McCain went to the front of the chamber, standing right in front of McConnell, held up his hand and when his name was called he voted, “No!”
This drew gasps from both the Republicans and Democrats, and then some of the Democrats began to clap for the surprise vote in their favor. Murkowski also voted no, and the vote was now in the Democrats favor. There would be no tie-breaker this time around. McCain’s surprise vote, which was not all that surprising, was all the Democrats needed, and Pence left the Senate chamber.
Following the vote, John McCain headed home to Arizona where he will start treatment for his brain tumor, but he was determined to be in Washington this week. He needed to be there to show the American people that their health care needs come first. But before he headed home, he ripped into McConnell and Trump, saying that the Senate is spinning their wheels on important issues. The GOP is trying to bully their agenda through, where as they should be working with the Senators on the other side of the aisle. Because of that, nothing is getting done. It appears that McCain feels that amending the current Obamacare bill is the way to go, which is what the bill was intended for. It was known not to be perfect, but it was not meant to be repealed, but continually worked on by each administration, Congress, and the Senate, to make it better and better.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Senator McCain