An angry Sen. Mitch McConnell rebuked Democrats and Republicans who voted against the GOP health care plan early Friday morning.
“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” said the Senate Majority Leader after a vote on the Republicans’ “skinny repeal” of Obamacare fell 49-51.
In a speech that began at 1:39 a.m. ET, McConnell stated that Republicans had run on repealing Obamacare for seven years. “We told our constituents we would vote that way,” said McConnell, “and when the moment came, most of us did.”
McConnell glanced in the direction of Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and John McCain, R-Ariz., when he said “most of us.” Murkowski and McCain joined Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, as the three GOP senators whose “no” votes submarined the bill, which was opposed by all 48 members of the Democratic caucus.
McConnell then turned his attention to those 48 Democrats in the chamber.
“Our friends on the other side decided early on that they didn’t want to engage with us in a serious way to help those suffering under Obamacare,” said McConnell of a bill that was subject to no committee hearings and released at 10 p.m. Thursday night, just two hours prior to the vote.
“So they are probably pretty satisfied tonight,” said McConnell of his Democratic colleagues. “I regret to say they succeeded.”
McConnell blasted the Democrats for obstruction and slowing things down in the Senate, adding that he was “interested” to see what ideas they had for moving forward on health care. The majority leader lashed out at the concept of a single-payer system that would provide government health care for all Americans, decrying it as “government takeover of everything” and “European health care.” McConnell was seemingly attempting to get ahead of an issue that many are suggesting the Democrats should make a key plank of their future campaign platforms.
The result was a surprise to observers who assumed McConnell would not have called the vote unless he knew it would pass, presumably with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Pence. Some Republicans voted in favor of the bill only after seeking assurances from the House that it wouldn’t become law. Speaker Paul Ryan had to personally promise at least four GOP senators that he wouldn’t allow the bill to become law without going to House-Senate conference to make additional changes. A Congressional Budget Office score of the “skinny repeal” bill projected it would have resulted in an additional 16 million uninsured Americans by 2026 and raised premiums 20 percent.
This was the third Obamacare replacement bill voted down in the Senate this week, following the Better Care Reconciliation Act (which would have repealed and replaced Obamacare) Tuesday and a bill that would have fully repealed Obamacare without a set replacement plan Wednesday.
At the conclusion of his speech, McConnell suffered one final indignity when his motion to get unanimous consent to move forward on a military funding bill was derailed by an objection from Sen. Rand Paul, his Republican colleague from Kentucky.
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