Live Coverage: Senate votes down ‘skinny’ ObamaCare repeal

Greg Nash

The Hill will be providing updated coverage of the Senate’s free-wheeling marathon healthcare session Thursday night, known as a vote-a-rama.


Cruz predicts Congress will still repeal ObamaCare

3:15 a.m.

“I believe this Congress will come back and in time we will honor our promises. You know senators are going to come home in the next few weeks,” Cruz told reporters early Friday morning. “They’re going to go home to their states, and they’re going to face our their constituents and they’re going to have hard questions.” 

“I believe we’ll come back and we will honor our promise.” 


Trump threatens to let ObamaCare ‘implode’

2:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump blasted lawmakers for failing to pass the Senate GOP’s “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill, doubling down on past comments that that he will let “ObamaCare implode.”

“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” Trump tweeted just before 2:30 a.m.


McConnell after healthcare failure: ‘It’s time to move on’

2:05 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “it is time to move on” in a floor speech after the stunning defeat of the GOPs effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

At times, McConnell sounded emotional after three senators voted against the skinny repeal of Obamacare.

“We’ll see how the American people feel about their ideas” he said, talking about Democrats.

He called the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare “the right thing for the country.”

Of Democrats, he said “now I think it’s appropriate to ask what are their ideas? It’ll be interesting to see what they suggest as the way forward”‬


Senate votes down ‘skinny’ ObamaCare repeal bill

1:45 a.m.

The Senate voted down a bare-bones ObamaCare repeal bill early Friday in a surprise vote that represents a major defeat for GOP leaders.

The Senate voted down the “skinny” bill, which would have repealed ObamaCare’s individual and employer mandates and defunded Planned Parenthood.

The bill was cast by Republicans as a way to keep their repeal hopes alive and get to negotiations with the House. It is unclear what happens now, or where the GOP repeal effort can go. 

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) provided the crucial vote against the last-resort Senate Republican healthcare bill released hours earlier, voting against it with fellow GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). 

McCain huddles with Dems

1:21 a.m.

McCain huddled with Democrats on the Senate floor, including leadership from the other side of the aisle. 

Afterward, Pence went over to talk to McCain. Then McCain left the Senate floor and went into the cloakroom. 
Reporter accidentally drops notebook on senator’s head
1:15 a.m. 
As the lull between votes dragged on into the early hours of Friday morning, one reporter accidentally dropped her notebook from the press gallery into the Senate chamber, hitting Sen. Tim Scott on the way down.
The mishap was one of the lighter moments of the night, with many making light of the accident online and the reporter apologizing. 
“It’s been a long day,” she wrote.



Pence chatting up McCain

1:10 a.m.

Vice President Pence spent several minutes talking intently to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as senators await a vote on a scaled-down ObamaCare repeal plan.

Pence was also spotting speaking with Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), one of two GOP senators who voted against the motion to proceed to debate on healthcare legislation earlier this week.

McCain voted yes on the motion, but expressed his displeasure with the process. The Arizona Republican said Thursday he wouldn’t vote for the “skinny” repeal bill unless he got an ironclad assurance from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that a conference committee would fix the bill.

All eyes on McCain ahead of vote

1 a.m. 

All eyes were on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as senators prepared to vote on the GOP’s “skinny” repeal bill, after he refused to tell reporters late Thursday how he would vote.

Observers took to social media to speculate over what McCain’s actions and facial expressions on the Senate floor might have signaled about his vote.

GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine) and McCain talked for a while on the Senate floor. At one point, Vice President Pence came over, shook McCain’s hand and chatted with the trio.

GOP senators want to strip provision defunding Planned Parenthood

12:15 a.m.

GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) are offering an amendment to remove the section of GOP leadership’s “skinny” repeal that would effectively cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year.

When asked earlier in the day if defunding Planned Parenthood would make her oppose the repeal bill, Murkowski said “you all know that I’m a strong defender of Planned Parenthood.”

Under the Senate’s free-wheeling vote-a-rama the two moderate senators can force a vote on their amendment — though it would likely fail.

If every Democratic senator, along with Collins and Murkowski, supported the amendment that could set up a 50-50 tie, though GOP leadership has procedural options to try to make it a 60-vote threshold instead.

Pence arrives at Capitol

11:35 p.m.

Vice President Pence arrived at the Capitol shortly before 11:30 p.m on Thursday night, as Republicans prepare to vote on their “skinny” repeal proposal.

Pence could be forced to break a tie if two GOP senators vote against the healthcare amendment. The vice president was forced to step in after Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted against starting debate on ObamaCare repeal legislation earlier this week.
Pence, who waved at reporters late Thursday at the Capitol, did not respond to a question about if Republicans have the 50 votes needed to let him break the tie. 

Sanders to GOP: Don’t ‘make a bad situation worse’ 

11:25 p.m.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged his GOP colleagues to back down from their proposed “skinny repeal,” calling the closed-door crafting of the legislation “absurd.” 
“Let us not make a bad situation worse, and let us not make the American people feel even more contemptuous of this institution than they currently do,” Sanders said from the Senate floor. 
He added that senators should have the “common sense” and “decency” to try get a bipartisan agreement on healthcare, saying: “Donald Trump ran for president, he campaigned and he said, I’m going to stand with the working people of this country.”
CBO: 16 million would lose coverage under ‘skinny’ repeal

11:18 p.m.

The GOP’s newly released “skinny” repeal of ObamaCare would result in 16 million additional people without insurance by 2026, according to a CBO score released Thursday night. 

The bill, released just hours before its vote Thursday night, would repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate permanently and its employer mandate for eight years. 

CBO also estimated that premiums in the individual market would increase by 20 percent compared to current law in all years between 2018 and 2026.

‘Skinny’ repeal faces key late-night vote

11:01 p.m.

Senate GOP leaders’ “skinny” repeal proposal of ObamaCare will face a key hurdle shortly after midnight Thursday.

The Senate is expected to vote at midnight on a Democratic effort to send the repeal measure to committee, which is widely expected to fail. 

Republicans will then move try to attach the paired-down repeal proposal to a House-passed healthcare bill, which is being used as vehicle for any Senate work.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will need at least 50 votes to overcome the hurdle, though a successful vote could signal that leaders have the support to ultimately approve the bill.

Doctors rip GOP’s ‘skinny’ ObamaCare repeal 

10:54 p.m.

The American Medical Association blasted the Senate GOP’s newly released “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill Thursday evening as a “toxic prescription that would make matters worse.” 

“Eliminating the individual mandate will lead to adverse selection, triggering higher premiums and further destabilizing the individual market,” AMA President David O. Barbe said in a statement. 
“The stated goal was to advance policies to lower premiums, but the ‘skinny’ bill would do the exact opposite, harming patients across the country.”  
Trump weighs in on healthcare debate
10:45 p.m.

“Go Republican Senators, Go! Get there after waiting for 7 years. Give America great healthcare!” President Trump tweeted late Thursday as lawmakers began discussing the GOP’s Health Care Freedom Act.  

Planned Parenthood denounces ‘skinny’ repeal bill

10:35 p.m.

Planned Parenthood came out strong against the “skinny” repeal, which defunds it for one year, saying “Trumpcare is the worst bill for women in a generation” in a statement.

“The simple fact is that blocking millions from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood would result in more undetected cancers and more unintended pregnancies,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood also pushed back on the notion that funding would be transferred to community health centers, saying it is reimbursed by Medicaid when patients come in and doesn’t receive a line item in a budget.

Senate releases Health Care Freedom Act

10:30 p.m.

The Senate released a skinny ObamaCare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood for a year, permanently eliminates the individual insurance mandate and repeals the employer mandate for eight years.

The bill, titled the Health Care Freedom Act, also repeals the medical device tax for three years and increases contribution limits to Health Savings Accounts for three years.

A vote on the bill is expected after midnight. Lawmakers could then offer amendments to the legislation.

Tags Bernie Sanders Chuck Schumer Donald Trump John McCain Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan Susan Collins Tim Scott

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