Huge news out this afternoon from the floor of the Senate!
Repeal of Obamacare is looking good, with the Senate passing the measure!
Senator John McCain returned from the hospital to cast an important vote:
BREAKING: Sen. John McCain, battling brain cancer, returns to Senate and casts vote to move ahead on repealing Obamacare.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 25, 2017
And then our fantastic Vice President Mike Pence cast the key tie-breaking vote:
BREAKING: With Pence breaking tie, Senate votes to begin debating Republican bill scuttling Obama health law in win for Trump, GOP.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 25, 2017
Even Rand Paul gave support:
If this is indeed the plan, I will vote to proceed and I will vote for any all measures that are clean repeal.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 25, 2017
The repeal is being dubbed a “Skinny Repeal” as it repeals certain aspects of the Obamacare platform but not all aspects. Most importantly, it eliminates Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty, the employer mandate penalty, and the tax on medical devices! GOOD!
Here are more details from NBC:
With Vice President Mike Pence casting a tie-breaking vote, Republicans moved forward on health care reform Tuesday afternoon as the Senate successfully passed a key motion to proceed to debate on the House-passed bill. Momentum built over the course of the day as several previously skeptical members announced they would support Senate leaders after they began detailing plans for more votes over the next days to shape the details of the legislation.
Sen. John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, returned to the Senate from Arizona to cast a key vote and Pence broke the tie after two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska — and all the Democrats voted against it.
The vote was a key moment in the GOP’s seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act but the final outcome seems likely to fall short of that goal, and could well end up as a “skinny” repeal that disposes of just a few components of the law, known as Obamacare.
The Senate will now move on to debate and vote on a variety of approaches to the bill, beginning with a vote on the 2015 version of the repeal of Obamacare, senators and aides say. That vote is expected to fail.
After that, the Senate will vote on the current replacement bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, with the addition of an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that allows the sale of catastrophic plans, and an amendment by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, that would add $100 billion in additional spending on Medicaid.
But the BCRA amendment is likely to need 60 votes because neither the Cruz nor the Portman amendment have been scored by the Congressional Budget Office. That means it cannot pass under special reconciliation rules allowing a simple majority approval. Since it would need Democratic votes, it is likely to fail.
The plan after those two votes is for senators to proceed to votes on a series of amendments to create what leadership has called a “skinny” repeal, which is a watered-down version of repeal with nothing to replace it. The goal would be to eliminate Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty, the employer mandate penalty, and the tax on medical devices. A broader repeal would also have ended Medicaid’s expansion, get rid of or replace the Obamacare subsidies that help people purchase insurance and repeal more — or all — of Obamacare’s taxes.
The Senate would then go to conference with the House of Representatives, where conferees would work out a final bill. Both chambers would then have to vote on the reconciled bill.
The dramatic return of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to the Senate for the vote, after he was recently diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, helped give GOP leaders a crucial vote as well as a morale boost for the GOP conference.
While passage of the motion to proceed had been in doubt for weeks, the momentum began to shift Tuesday morning. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced in a series of tweets that he supports this plan and would vote “yes” on the motion, saying he was satisfied with the plan going forward because he was promised a vote on a near-full repeal and that the repeal and replace plan will likely fail.
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