Vice President Pence on Friday called on Republicans in the Senate to vote for current legislation meant to overturn ObamaCare, after a high profile defection by Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home MORE (R-Ariz.) announced minutes before the speech left the bill's fate hanging by a thread.
"A vote against Graham-Cassidy is a vote to save ObamaCare," Pence told a crowd in Anderson, Ind., speaking of the legislation co-sponsored by GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Graham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidySunday shows - Boosters in the spotlight GOP senator: Republicans will lose if they relitigate the past Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant MORE (La.).
“It’s time for every member of the Republican majority to keep their word to the American people,” he said, without specifically calling out McCain for his opposition.
The bill is one of the GOP's last ditch attempts to repeal and replace ObamaCare, a promise multiple Republicans ran on in the last election where they won the majority in the House and Senate.
"The Republican majority in Congress in particular was not elected to save ObamaCare, they were elected to repeal and replace it," Pence said.
Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass the bill using a special budget procedure called reconciliation, which would require 50 votes plus a tie-breaker from Pence to pass the Senate.
McCain's Friday announcement that he would opposed the bill, along with Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment MORE's previously announced opposition, left the bill on a razor's edge. Republicans cannot lose any more votes on the measure.
Pence called out "opposition" to the bill in a tweet that doubled down on the Trump administration's determination to pass the legislation.
Several Republican senators are wary of the bill, such as Alaska Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump, allies launch onslaught as midterms kick into gear Emboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration MORE, and could put the final nail in the coffin should they decide to vote "no."
“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried," McCain said in a statement Friday.
Pence also addressed tax reform in his speech and called on Democratic Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sanders traveling to Iowa, Indiana to pitch Biden's spending package Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE, the incumbent from Indiana, to support tax reform efforts.
"Joe, let's decide today we're gonna get this tax cut done, and we're gonna get it done together," Pence said.
Donnelly, who joined Pence on stage at the event, is one of a number of vulnerable Democratic senators, such as Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior —Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine safe for young kids MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE (N.D.), the White House is trying to woo to support the tax reform effort.