The Senate in the early hours of Friday morning rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and dealing a huge political setback to President Trump. Senator John McCain of Arizona, who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote, and gave a thumbs-down gesture, to defeat the proposal. Two other Republicans voted no, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
The 49-to-51 vote was also a humiliating setback for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has nurtured his reputation as a master tactician and spent the last three months trying to devise a repeal bill that could win support from members of his caucus. McCain tweeted that he voted no because “skinny repeal fell short because it fell short of our promise to repeal & replace Obamacare w/ meaningful reform.”
The Trump administration apparently wanted the bill to pass no matter what and, to that end, tried to twist arms. Mr. Trump directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to call Ms. Murkowski, the Alaska senator, to remind her of issues affecting her state that are controlled by the Interior Department, according to people familiar with the call, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Ms. Murkowski confirmed to reporters that she had received a call from Mr. Zinke, but she declined to describe the details. However, people familiar with the call described her reaction to it as “furious.” NYT
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