Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced today that he would vote “no” to the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, the GOP’s latest attempt to rollback the Affordable Care Act.
Several of McCain’s Republican colleagues had also expressed reservations over the legislation, and Senator Rand Paul had already said he wouldn’t back it since it did not fully repeal the ACA.
The bill would require 50 votes to begin debate in the Senate, and 51 votes for the legislation to pass and move on to the House; Republicans only hold a two-seat majority in the Senate. It is unclear at this point as to whether another GOP senator will break from the party and vote down the bill before it can be debated.
Regardless, McCain’s announcement signals that—unless he or Sen. Paul have a change of heart—the legislation would die in the Senate when put to a final vote.
What have other members of Congress had to say about McCain’s decision?
Democrats are largely using McCain’s dissent with his own party as an opportunity to extend a hand across the aisle.
Former House Rep. and 2016 presidential candidate John Kasich and Sen. Patty Murray both tweeted to McCain after his announcement urging a bipartisan solution to the healthcare crisis. “I’m proud of you, John,” read Kasich’s tweet before calling for the “resumption of the bipartisan Alexander/Murray [healthcare] plan.”
Murray tweeted that she agreed with McCain’s call to work “together to find common ground,” adding that she was “at the table ready to keep working.”
Senator Tim Kaine echoed the call for both parties to put aside partisanship on the issue, saying that Graham-Cassidy “is not how we improve health care for millions.”
Members of the House also joined in on the commentary. Democratic Representative Joe Courtney said, “I applaud [McCain’s] decision to follow his conscience and break with his party,” and also called for a bipartisan approach to healthcare reform.
Many other members of Congress cautioned that McCain’s dissent does not ensure that the bill would not pass the Senate. “[W]e cannot stop till we know this bill is dead. #KillTheBill,” tweeted Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney.
Others simply offered McCain praise:
Reactions from the Republican side of the aisle have been surprisingly quiet, but a few recent tweet-storms indicate that McCain’s decision has definitely ruffled some feathers.
Bill sponsor Lindsay Graham (R-SC) tweeted that he “respectfully disagree[s]” with McCain’s position, adding that his friendship with the longtime senator,—a bromance that has been much beloved by the media—is “not based on how he votes but respect for … the person he is.”
“I’m excited about solutions we have found in Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson. We press on,” Graham said at the end of a brief tweet storm.
Fellow cosponsors of the bill Sens. Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller, and Ron Johnson have yet to comment.