Oct 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

5 vulnerable GOP senators vote to protect Affordable Care Act from Trump lawsuit

Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski stand and speak

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) in the background, in February 2018. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Six Republican senators, five of whom are up for re-election in 2020, sided with Democrats on Thursday in a procedural vote to block the Trump administration from supporting a lawsuit that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Why it matters: The final vote on the motion was 51-43, failing to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold to pass. But the move by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) forced several vulnerable GOP senators to go on the record on whether they support the lawsuit, which could strip protections from pre-existing conditions for millions of Americans.

The state of play: Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) all voted with Democrats and are facing close re-election fights. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also voted in favor.

  • Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) are facing tough re-election races, but voted against the motion.

Flashback: All six GOP senators who supported Thursday's bill voted for the 2017 tax bill that set the latest Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act in motion.

Of note: Four of the Republicans to break rank were women — nearly half of the nine female GOP senators in Congress.

  • While Murkowski is not up for re-election until 2022, she opposed President Trump on quickly confirming a Supreme Court judge to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and has publicly opposed the Trump administration on several occasions.
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