The so-called “skinny repeal” bill that Senate Republicans said would keep alive their hopes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed early Friday morning — delivering a devastating blow to both President Donald Trump and the GOP Congress’ agenda.
The bill failed by a margin of 49 to 51, after three Republicans voted against it.
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted against the plan, ensuring it would not receive the 50 votes needed.
“This is a disappointment, a disappointment indeed,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the bill failed.
“I regret that our efforts were simply not enough this time,” McConnell added.
This is now the third health care plan Senate Republicans have exhausted — and it’s unclear if they have anything else up their sleeves to revive the repeal effort.
Failing to repeal and replace the ACA, better known as Obamacare, could be politically destructive for Republicans, who promised their base voters that they would repeal and replace the law for seven years.
But passing the bill could have been just as bad.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the plan would have increased premiums by 20% and cause 16 million more people to become uninsured. That’s the exact opposite outcome that Republicans promised to voters.
The vote took place after 12:30 a.m. Friday morning, a hypocritical maneuver by McConnell, who attacked Democrats for trying to pass the ACA in the “dead of night” back in 2009.
Senate Republicans released the text of the bill just two hours before the vote, giving little time for senators and the public to read, digest and come up with a position.
And the vote itself was tense, with Vice President Mike Pence — who was on hand to possibly break a tie — working to convince Republicans who voted no on the plan to change their minds.
Despite more than half hour of lobbying, Pence could not flip the votes.
“It’s time to move on,” a dejected McConnell said, wrapping up a speech after the vote failed.