McCain votes to advance ObamaCare repeal, replace after vowing to oppose

McCain votes to advance ObamaCare repeal, replace after vowing to oppose
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE (R-Ariz.) voted in favor of a procedural hurdle Tuesday evening that would have advanced the GOP's ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill to a vote.

The vote to advance the proposal failed 43-57, with McCain voting yes.

McCain faced criticism for the vote because just hours before in a fiery floor speech, he said he would oppose the bill in its current form.

His office defended his vote Wednesday morning as simply "procedural."

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"It was not a vote in support of, or in opposition to, the substance of the amendment that was pending at the time," McCain's communications director, Julie Tarallo, said in a statement.

"In his speech yesterday, Senator McCain said he would not vote for the health care bill in its current form — and he will not. Much work remains, including consideration of the three amendments filed by Senator McCain that would address the concerns raised by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and other leaders across the state about the underlying bill’s impact on Arizona’s Medicaid system."

The proposal was the first amendment to get a vote after senators took up the House-passed healthcare bill, which is being used as a vehicle for any Senate action, earlier Tuesday. It included proposals from Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGermany calls on Congress not to sanction Nord Stream 2 pipeline: report Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' Biden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress MORE (R-Texas) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US mulls Afghan evacuees' future Hillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — DOJ unveils new election hacking charges MORE (R-Ohio).

A vote on an amendment that would repeal much of ObamaCare is expected on Wednesday.

In a fiery floor speech earlier in the day, McCain said he would oppose the legislation in its current form when it comes time for final passage.

He called the current proposal a "shell of a bill" and said the Senate Health Committee should hold hearings on healthcare legislation.

“Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle," he said.

Asked by a reporter after the vote why he voted in favor of the motion, he said: "I just thought it would be good to move the process forward, and then we'll see what happens later on."