On Tuesday, the Senate voted aye on a “motion to proceed” debating amendments to the Senate health care bill, amendments that could repeal Obamacare.
Prior to the vote, one GOP senator, Maine’s Susan Collins, said she would vote against the motion, leaving the GOP with a precarious 51 possible senators who would approve the motion. Then she was apparently joined by Senator Lisa Murkowski:
McCain was flying back to Washington to vote on the motion, crucial for it to pass; if the GOP mustered 50 votes, Vice-President Mike Pence would put it over the top.
There were protesters in the Senate chamber:
The last three GOP senators who had not cast their votes were McCain, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, while the Democrats simply abstained from voting until the GOP had voted in toto:
In the end, it came down to Johnson:
Then, at roughly 3 p.m. EST, Johsnon and McCain both voted yes, as fivethirtyeight.com reported: “McCain and Johnson just voted aye on the motion to proceed. The 48 Democrats and independents are expected to vote “no,” making for a 50-50 tie that will be broken in McConnell’s favor by Vice President Mike Pence.”
No formal legislation has been drafted. Now that the motion has been approved, senators can freely offer amendments, which means the final measure to be passed is still nebulous.