“We told our constituents we would vote that way and when the moment came, the moment came, most of us did," he said.
"This is clearly a disappointment," McConnell added. "It's time to move on."
The return of McCain to Washington after a brain cancer diagnosis added drama to the already tense proceedings. It was his vote — the 50th — that allowed Republicans begin debating the measure.
McCain gave a heartfelt speech upon his return to the Senate on Tuesday, decrying the rise of partisanship. And it was McCain who put an end to the partisan repeal effort.
McCain spoke to Trump last night on the phone and the president urged him to vote to for the “skinny repeal” bill — assuring him it wouldn’t end up passing into law, according to one source with direct knowledge of the call.
Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived in the chamber in a bid to rescue the bill and in preparation to cast the deciding vote, stood alongside McCain's desk and then joined the senator in the cloakroom. By the time they re-emerged, separately, the vote had begun.
McCain went back to his desk and sat after casting his "no" vote. He eventually made his way to the Democrats' side of the chamber and was greeted with hugs and cheers.
“I believe each of us stood up for the reasons that we felt were right”Several Republicans said they did not know where McCain would fall, and there were audible gasps in the chamber when he turned down his thumb to indicate his decision.
The renowned maverick had committed perhaps his most rebellious move ever, defying his party and president on the one issue that had united the Republicans for nearly a decade.
He walked off the Senate floor saying little. “I thought it was the right vote,” he said a short time later while getting into his car.
Soon after his office put out a more thorough statement:
"I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace."
It isn't clear what comes next, but the collapse of some insurance markets around the country serve as an incentive for Republicans and Democrats to hold hearings and fix the problems with health care.
Most Republicans never embraced the different iterations of legislation they crafted, nor the process by which it was constructed. Even on the last-ditch effort at a bare-bones bill, Republicans couldn’t reach agreement. Over the past two days, many rejected a plan that would have partially repealed and replaced Obamacare and a measure that would have just repealed it. The repeal vote was the same bill that passed the Senate and the House in 2015 when former President Barack Obama vetoed it.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, stood against every version of the legislation even in the face of immense pressure. The Trump administration threatened to withhold federal resources from Alaska because of her opposition, according to the Alaska Daily News. Murkowski herself said the next day in response to the report that she would not characterize it as a "threat."
"I sat there with Senator McCain. I think both of us recognize that it’s very hard to disappoint your colleagues," Murkowski told NBC News after the vote. "And I know that there is disappointment because it was the three votes that Senator McCain, Senator Collins, and I cast that did not allow this bill to move forward. And that is difficult."
"But I believe each of us stood up for the reasons that we felt were right," she added.
The failed vote happened just three hours after the text of the latest version was released, and the slimmed-down version, designed specifically to get the 50 votes it needed, still it wasn't enough to gather the support necessary.
Democrats sustained their pressure against Republicans by slowing down not only the health care debate on the floor but all Senate activity. Activists, meanwhile, held daily protests on Capitol Hill, targeting skittish senators’ offices. Those protests continued until the vote occurred Friday morning with health care activists gathered outside the Capitol...............................................................
Read More at: www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/senate-gop-effort-repeal-obamacare-fails-n787311
Source: NBC NEWS