A Democratic senator said Friday that Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) deciding vote to kill the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare came as a joyful surprise to many Democrats.
Describing the mood in the Senate chamber during the vote, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Conn.) said he was elated when McCain shared with Democrats how he planned to vote.
From The Hill
Just after 1 a.m., McCain suddenly moved from the Republican side of the chamber to converse with Democrats, including Coons. It was then that the Arizona Republican told the Democrats his decision.
“He stood with a group of us and said, ‘I am a “no,”‘” Coons told CNN after the vote. “I was trying not to jump up and down and smile.”
Watch Senators GASP As McCain Votes No:
McCain was one of three GOP senators who defected and joined Democrats to kill the Republican repeal effort, along with Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).
Senate leaders reacted to the Republicans’ role in killing the bill with dismay.
“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said.
“I regret that our efforts were simply not enough this time. Now, I imagine many of our colleagues on the other side are celebrating. Probably pretty happy about all this. But the American people are hurting, and they need relief.”
After the vote, McCain said in a statement that he wanted to use the committee process to work on crafting a better bill to repeal ObamaCare that could actually pass the Senate and the House.
“We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” McCain said in a statement early Friday.