Collins recounts ‘heartwarming’ welcome in Maine after healthcare 'no' vote

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP confidence grows on Kavanaugh GOP divide in Congress over Rosenstein's future Senate panel schedules Friday morning vote for Kavanaugh MORE (R-Maine) on Sunday described receiving a “heartwarming” welcome in Bangor, Maine on Friday after she voted along with two other GOP senators to kill current GOP efforts to repeal ObamaCare.

“It really was so extraordinary, heartwarming and affirming. I got off the plane and there was a large group of outbound passengers, none of whom I happen to know, and spontaneously some of them started applauding and then virtually all of them started to applaud,” Collins told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday. 

“It was just amazing. I’ve never had that happen in the 20 years that I’ve been privileged to serve in the Senate. So it was very encouraging and affirming, especially after arriving back home after a very difficult time,” she continued.

Collins joined 48 Democrats and Republican Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP confidence grows on Kavanaugh Senate panel schedules Friday morning vote for Kavanaugh Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Texas coal plant to shut down | Macron rejects trade deals with climate pact outsiders | Vote on park funding bills to miss deadline MORE (Alaska) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainUpcoming Kavanaugh hearing: Truth or consequences How the Trump tax law passed: Dealing with a health care hangover Kavanaugh’s fate rests with Sen. Collins MORE (Arizona) in voting against a barebones ObamaCare repeal bill put forth by GOP Senate leadership that was known as the “skinny” repeal.

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President Trump has expressed a desire to revive Republican efforts to repeal and replace former President Obama’s signature healthcare law this weekend. However, Collins said her vote would not be changed as a result of Trump’s pressure.

“We need to go back to committee, to the Health Committee and the Finance Committee, identify the problems, carefully evaluate possible solutions through hearings, and then produce a series of bills to correct these problems,” Collins said.

Collins and Murkowski had stood against the motion to bring the debate to the Senate floor on Tuesday, but McCain, who voted for the motion, dramatically put the nail in the repeal-and-replace coffin even after being personally lobbied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell GOP leaning toward Arizona sex crimes prosecutor to question Kavanaugh accuser: report GOP confidence grows on Kavanaugh Senate panel schedules Friday morning vote for Kavanaugh MORE (R-Ky.), Vice President Pence and Trump.