Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed “regret” and “disappointment” immediately after the GOP failed to pass a minimalist Obamacare repeal bill early Friday, blaming congressional Democrats for not engaging “in a serious way” in the efforts to remedy the health care law.
“I imagine many of our colleagues on the other side are celebrating, probably pretty happy about this,” a stunned seeming McConnell said from the Senate floor. “But the American people are hurting and they need relief.”
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The reconciliation measure, which required a simple-majority to pass in the Senate, ultimately failed as GOP Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined Democrats in striking down the bill. The failed vote deals a substantial blow to the Republican Party’s efforts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature health care bill, a longstanding campaign promise by a many Republicans.
In the moments immediately following the vote, however, McConnell thanked his Republican colleagues for their work putting versions of the bill to a vote in both the House and the Senate.
“I want to thank everybody in this conference for the endless amount of time that they spent trying to achieve a consensus to go forward,” McConnell remarked.
The Republican senator also thanked President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their work in pushing the bill forward. Pence spent much of the preliminary voting period speaking to and seeking to sway Republican lawmakers in favor of the bill.
Despite his party’s inability to come together to pass through the legislation, McConnell pinned much of the fault on Senate Democrats.
“Our friends on the other side decided early on they didn’t want to engage with us in a serious way, a serious way to help those suffering under Obamacare,” McConnell said.