WASHINGTON >> Dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump’s agenda, the Senate early Friday rejected a measure to repeal parts of former President Barack Obama’s health care law after a night of high suspense in the U.S. Capitol.
Unable to pass even a so-called “skinny repeal,” it was unclear if Senate Republicans could advance any health bill despite seven years of promises to repeal “Obamacare.”
“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “I regret that our efforts were not enough, this time.”
“It’s time to move on,” he said. The vote was 49-51 with three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting ‘no.’
McConnell put the health bill on hold and announced that the Senate would move onto other legislation next week.
Trump responded on Twitter: “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
A key vote to defeat the measure was cast by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who returned to the Senate this week after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer. In an impassioned speech the day he returned, McCain had called for bipartisanship on major issues of national concern, and a return to the “regular order” of legislating by committee.
Two other Republicans — Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — joined McCain and all Democrats to reject the amendment, which would have repealed a mandate that most individuals get health insurance and would have…
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