WASHINGTON — The Senate early Friday rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and dealing a huge political setback to President Donald Trump.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it.
The 49-51 vote was also a humiliating setback for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has nurtured his reputation as a master tactician and spent the past three months trying to devise a repeal bill that could win support from members of his caucus.
As the clock ticked toward the final vote, which took place around 1:30 a.m., suspense built on the Senate floor. McCain was engaged in a lengthy, animated conversation with Vice President Mike Pence, who had come to the Capitol expecting to cast the tiebreaking vote for the bill. A few minutes later, when McCain ambled over to the Democratic side of the chamber, he was embraced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. A little later Sen. Amy Kobuchar, D-Minn., put her arm around him.
The roll had yet to be called, but the body language suggested that the Trump administration had failed in its effort to flip the Arizona senator, whom Trump had hailed Tuesday as an “American hero.”
Many senators announced their votes in booming voices. McCain quietly signaled his vote with a…
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