Senate votes against repeal of Affordable Care Act

By Andrew V. Pestano and Danielle Haynes  |  Updated July 26, 2017 at 6:02 PM
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July 26 (UPI) -- The Senate on Wednesday voted against a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act, with seven Republican senators siding with Democrats.

Senators voted 55-45 not to repeal the healthcare law without an immediate replacement in place. The legislation resembled a bill the Senate passed in 2015 but one that former President Barack Obama ultimately vetoed.

All Democrats who voted did so against the repeal as well as Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Alexander released a statement after the vote saying that though he agrees that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced, he didn't think "Tennesseans would be comfortable canceling insurance for 22 million Americans, and trusting Congress to find a replacement in two years.

"Pilots like to know where they're going to land when they take off, and we should too," he said.

Tuesday the chamber rejected the latest revised Republican proposal -- the Better Care Reconciliation Act -- to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare, with a 43-57 vote.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., one of the Republican senators who opposed the bill spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported the repeal-only legislation.

"Repealing mandates and taxes, without new spending and bailouts. This is the path I've been urging, and what I discussed with [President Donald Trump]," Paul said in a statement. "If this is indeed the plan, I will vote to proceed and I will vote for any all measures that are clean repeal."

Republicans attempted to pass the repeal bill through special budget rules -- limiting debate to 20 hours and preventing a filibuster from Democrats.

The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation last week said repealing without replacing the ACA would result in 32 million more uninsured people by 2026 and higher premiums.

Trump on Wednesday criticized Murkowski, who on Tuesday was one of two Republicans who voted against beginning debate to repeal the ACA.

"Senator [Murkowski] of the great state of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!" Trump tweeted.

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