A win for Republican leader Mitch McConnell. With a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, the Senate
voted, with the conversion of holdouts Dean Heller, Rand Paul and Shirley Capito, to open debate on legislation to replace, or at least dramatically alter, Obamacare.
The vote was 50-50, all the Democrats and Sens. Lisa Murkowski
and Susan Collins
in opposition. Sen. John McCain
flew in from cancer treatment to open the door to a reduction of health care coverage for millions of fellow Americans.
The future remains cloudy, but the vote today means the attack on the legislation — now broadly supported by voters — may continue. From the Washington Post:
The new strategy will allow Republicans to sustain their years-long effort to unwind the 2010 health-care law, though they have yet settle on a replacement for it. But it is also is a tacit acknowledgment that more sweeping efforts to revise or even simply repeal the law cannot succeed, even as Republicans control both Congress and the White House.
Arkansas Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman
had made clear before the vote they'd be on board. Both are long and strident critics of Obamacare, even as it has gained favor with their constituents and extended coverage to 300,000 Arkansans who had been without.
UPDATE: Is Tom Cotton feeling the heat? He was one of nine Republicans who contributed to defeat of one of the bad bills, the so-called BCRA. Boozman was an aye of course. Tough Tom butt covering?