The Senate has passed a motion to proceed on the health care debate.
In a Tuesday afternoon vote, the GOP-majority chamber passed the measure by a 51-50 tally, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. Only Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski broke from the rest of the party to vote to proceed, while all 48 Democrats voted against.
Among the yeas was Sen. John McCain, who came back to the Capitol less than a week after being diagnosed with brain cancer. The Senator returned from Arizona to cast what turned out to be a decisive vote.
One by one on Tuesday, fence-sitting Republican Senators decided to join with their colleagues to pass the motion. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman were among those who jumped on board at the last minute.
“Obamacare isn’t the answer, but doing nothing to try to solve the problems it has created isn’t the answer either,” Heller said in a statement. “That is why I will vote to move forward and give us a chance to address the unworkable aspects of the law that have left many Nevadans – particularly those living in rural areas – with dwindling or no choices.”
As the roll call began, there were chants of “Shame!” and “Kill the bill!” in the Senate gallery.
[image via screengrab]
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