(WASHINGTON) — Republican finger-pointing commenced Friday after the Senate’s dark-of-night defeat of the GOP’s effort to repeal much of the Obama health care law, a startling vote that dealt a blow to President Donald Trump.
“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down,” Trump tweeted early Friday after GOP leaders failed to patch party divisions and the Senate rejected a last-ditch bill to keep the effort alive. “As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
The “skinny repeal” bill — erasing several parts of President Barack Obama’s law — was rejected just before 2 a.m. EST on a vote of 51-49.
All Democrats were joined by GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the ailing John McCain. The 80-year-old Arizona senator made a dramatic return to the Capitol Tuesday after being diagnosed with brain cancer to cast a decisive procedural vote that for a time had advanced the legislation.
Following rejection of two broader GOP repeal plans earlier in the week, the early Friday vote cast doubt on whether divided Senate Republicans can advance any health bill despite seven years of promises to repeal “Obamacare.”
House leaders had no hesitation about blaming the Senate for the collapse of one of the GOP’s paramount priorities. In a statement, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pointedly said “the House delivered a bill” and said he was “disappointed and frustrated.” Nearly three months earlier, the House approved its health care package after several embarrassing setbacks.
He added, “But we should not give up. I encourage the Senate to continue working toward a real solution that keeps our promise.”
Underscoring the House’s view of where the fault lie, leaders opened a morning meeting of the chamber’s GOP lawmakers by playing audio of Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” which recounts the 1975 wreck of a freighter in Lake Superior. Several lawmakers…