Sen. John McCain announced his opposition Friday to his Republican colleagues’ last-ditch ObamaCare overhaul bill, dealing a major blow to GOP leaders’ push to pass the legislation in the Senate next week ahead of a looming deadline.
The Arizona Republican senator was considered a key vote, as one of just three wavering GOP senators.
His opposition could help doom the bill, though the position of two other Republican senators is not yet firm.
McCain announced his decision in a lengthy written statement, effectively saying the bill from Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana was being rushed.
“I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment. But that has not been the case. Instead, the specter of September 30th budget reconciliation deadline has hung over this entire process,” he said.
“We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009. …I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal.”
President Trump has fought hard to rally support for the Graham-Cassidy bill, tweeting a warning to Republican foes on Friday morning that the fate of the Affordable Care Act is in their hands.
“Rand Paul, or whoever votes against Hcare Bill, will forever (future political campaigns) be known as ‘the Republican who saved ObamaCare,’” Trump tweeted.
Before Friday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the only Republican who had come out firmly against the bill, arguing it doesn’t do enough to roll back ObamaCare.
With McCain now opposed, that leaves the bill’s fate with Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom have concerns about the legislation.
Just one additional GOP defection would kill the bill decisively in the Senate.