What's next for McConnell, GOP senators after the latest health care failure?

And they failed in dramatic fashion - in the middle of the night. "But you can't have everything", he added, seemingly shrugging off one of his biggest legislative setbacks. McConnell, thwarted in his quest to round up votes for the House-passed version of Trumpcare, or for his own Trumpcare alternative, or even for a repeal of Obamacare without a replacement, decided instead to risk everything on a "motion to proceed" - a parliamentary maneuver that allows debate to begin. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Democrats in voting no early Friday morning for the Republicans' last-ditch effort to repeal ObamaCare, with the bill failing on a vote of 49 to 51. While an increasingly-frustrated looking McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn huddled on the floor, Vice President Mike Pence partook in a lengthy discussion with McCain on the chamber floor in an attempt to coax the Arizona Republican to vote for the measure.

The "skinny repeal", which was only eight pages long and crafted a few hours before the vote, was unpopular with several Republican senators.

Just three days ago, Trump praised McCain as a fearless "American hero" for coming back to Washington from Arizona, where he had been recuperating from surgery, to take part in the healthcare legislative effort. Still, most Republican senators went along. "It is killing the R Party". Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he is "relieved millions and millions of people who would have been so drastically hurt by the three proposals put forward will at least retain their health care, be able to deal with preexisting conditions.we are relieved, not for ourselves, but for the American people".

Earlier in the week, Republican defections sank GOP efforts to scrap the 2010 law. Without establishing mechanisms to regulate insurance markets, the measure would have upended the health care system, prompting the hospital and insurance industries to protest that the law would be unworkable. "But it did a lot of good things and it needs improvement".

Republicans will again try to repeal ObamaCare, and they will succeed only if Americans don't take the threat of tens of millions losing coverage just as seriously as they did this time.

Friday morning, House leaders turned to singer Gordon Lightfoot to point fingers. In the short term, the Senate intends to move on to defense legislation and the nomination of Christopher Wray to be the next Federal Bureau of Investigation director. But they received no assurances from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the bill would never become law.

Conservative Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who's running for a vacant Senate seat, suggested it was time for McConnell to relinquish his post.

In a written statement from McConnell's office after the vote, he seemed to indicate a GOP-only effort on health care may be dead.

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"I think in the end they're going to have to stabilize these markets", he said. "Outsourced the whole issue to Congress".

Schumer thanked McCain for his vote and said it's time members of Senate heed his advice.

Lawmakers spoke of two possible but hard routes forward.

House leaders had no hesitation about blaming the Senate for the collapse of one of the GOP's paramount priorities. But both of those dynamics have been in play all year without producing results.

It also mandated that all Americans have health insurance - known as the "individual mandate" - or pay a penalty - something the Obama administration believed necessary to make the economics work: young, healthy people needed to pay into the system to offset the costs of the sick and the elderly.

Rep. Annie Kuster called the vote a "win for the American people who are exhausted of partisan politics getting in the way of real solutions".

When reading some of the Democratic comments about solutions, however, I am reminded of the adage, "Solving a problem first requires admitting there is one".


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