Jul 25, 2017

Axios PM

We have a health care debate

The Senate will begin debate on the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act, but it wasn't without some high drama:

  • In the minutes leading up to the final vote, there were still a handful of undeclared votes, including Sens. Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Rob Portman, Rand Paul, Jerry Moran, Shelley Moore Capito and Dean Heller. Everyone on that list gradually came out in favor of the bill, leaving the tally at 48 in favor, with Democrats yet to vote.
  • The Republican "no" votes: Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.
  • The Senate then waited on John McCain to arrive in the chamber.
  • During the interim, Ron Johnson had a much-watched conversation with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the middle of the Senate floor.
  • Upon arriving on the floor to a standing ovation from his colleagues, McCain voted yes, followed by Johnson.
  • VP Pence then cast the deciding vote.

After the vote, McCain gave an impassioned speech, expressing his gratitude to be back and vowing to make his presence known before returning home for treatment.

Top quotes:

  • "Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and the television and the internet — to hell with them! They don't want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood."
  • On a health care compromise: "We haven't found it yet, and I'm not sure we will…I will not vote for this bill as it is today. It's a shell of a bill right now. We all know that…If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then let's return to regular order."
  • "We are not the president's subordinates. We are his equals."

Go deeper: More McCain quotes, plus video.

Even deeper: Axios health editor David Nather's post from the end of the vote.

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1 "Sourced" thing

Axios' Jonathan Swan, who broke the news last week that Trump wanted to hire Anthony Scaramucci, lays out the next big White House power struggle for our Axios Sourced video series: Scaramucci vs. Reince.

Bonus: Swan explains how Scaramucci is the new public face of Trump's anti-leaks campaign.