McCain blocks bid to repeal ‘Obamacare’
voted in favour of opening the debate on the legislation earlier this week.
But in a night of high drama on Capitol Hill, Mr McCain dealt what looks like a death blow to the Republican party’s seven years of promises to get rid of Obamacare, defying President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in the senate.
Mr Trump said in a morning tweet that if the senate wants to pass legislation, it “must immediately go to a 51-vote majority”, although his calculations appeared to be at fault.
The Republican majority failed to reach 51 votes in the bid to overhaul US health care laws - instead, they got 49 votes.
Typically, legislation in the senate requires 60 votes or more to avoid a filibuster. Majority leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly rejected Mr Trump’s proposal to lower the threshold.
The president complained that three Republican senators voted with Democrats to block the way - Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and, providing the decisive vote, Mr McCain.
Mr Trump advocated a lower threshold, adding that “so many great future bills and budgets” ought to be able to pass with only 51 votes. Meanwhile, US House speaker Paul Ryan has said he is “disappointed and frustrated” by the failure of the legislation.
However, Mr Ryan said “we should not give up” after promising for years to repeal and replace Obamacare. At the same time, the speaker said that overhauling the tax code is at the top of the House’s list of priorities.
Mr Ryan is pledging to pursue “historic tax reform” in the autumn. He issued his statement as the House prepares to leave Washington for its annual August recess.