John McCain could be the deciding no vote again. The veteran Arizona senator announced Friday he would oppose the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, a stance similar to his dramatic thumbs-down “no” vote in July that likely ends Republicans’ latest attempt at repealing and replacing Obamacare.
McCain released a statement saying he could not support the bill because Republicans and Democrats hadn’t “really tried” to work together and the rush to pass the bill by Sept. 30 (the deadline for which they need 51 votes instead of 60) has tainted the process.
“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said in his statement. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried…”
“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,” McCain said. “But that has not been the case. Instead, the specter of the September 30 budget reconciliation deadline has hung over this entire process.”
McCain’s “no” vote likely deals the final blow to the Republicans’ attempt at overhauling the Affordable Care Act, since the GOP can’t have more than two defections. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has strongly opposed the vote and other attempts at repealing Obamacare. He recently called the Graham-Cassidy bill “ObamaCare Lite,” in an opinion piece for Fox News, adding that “in no way [does] it repeal the way we promised.” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also said Friday she was leaning against the bill. McCain, Murkowski and Collins were all no votes on the last GOP attempt in July.
McCain’s decision received support from staunch opponents of the bill, including late- night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, who has emerged as a vocal critic.