NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

U.S. Senate votes to advance Trumpcuts, with Mike Pence casting the tiebreaking vote

The Unit­ed States Sen­ate has vot­ed by the nar­row­est of mar­gins to begin con­sid­er­ing leg­is­la­tion with unknown pro­vi­sions that would evis­cer­ate the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act signed into law by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma sev­en years ago.

Fifty Repub­li­cans vot­ed in favor of advanc­ing the bill, while two Repub­li­cans (Lisa Murkows­ki and Susan Collins) vot­ed against, along with all forty-eight Democ­rats. With the Sen­ate dead­locked, Mike Pence then cast the tiebreak­ing vote.

Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor John McCain of Ari­zona returned to the Sen­ate floor to cast the deci­sive “aye” vote, and then pro­ceed­ed, with­in moments of cast­ing said vote, to give a long speech hyp­o­crit­i­cal­ly call­ing for a return to “reg­u­lar order”.

McCain was recent­ly diag­nosed with brain can­cer and had a blood clot removed from above his left eye at Mayo Clin­ic Hos­pi­tal.

Con­sid­er­ing what John McCain is going through, he ought to under­stand bet­ter than any sen­a­tor how immoral it would be to rob mil­lions of Amer­i­cans of their health­care by gut­ting the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act.

Today’s vote was only pro­ce­dur­al. As such, the fight to save Amer­i­cans’ health­care goes on. But it is grave­ly dis­ap­point­ing to see that only two mem­bers of the Repub­li­can cau­cus stood up to Don­ald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as fol­lows:

VOTING AYE: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (ID), Steve Daines (MT), Dan Sul­li­van (AK)

VOTING NAY: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden (OR), Jon Tester (MT); Repub­li­can Lisa Murkows­ki (AK)

Democ­rats con­demned the vote in strong­ly word­ed state­ments.

“It’s incon­ceiv­able that any of our nation’s lead­ers think our health care sys­tem will be improved by rip­ping away health care from 22 mil­lion Amer­i­cans and vast­ly increas­ing the costs for mil­lions more,” said Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

“[Don­ald] Trump promised Amer­i­cans he would improve our health care sys­tem. He promised he would not cut Med­ic­aid, and that his plan would make health care more acces­si­ble and more afford­able. [Trump­cuts] doesn’t deliv­er on a sin­gle one of those promis­es. In fact it exac­er­bates each of them.”

“This isn’t about repeal, or repeal and replace. Repub­li­can con­gres­sion­al lead­ers and Trump want to instead repeal and redi­rect this fund­ing to an enor­mous tax break for the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans. The Sen­ate bill is being writ­ten entire­ly in secret. Not even Repub­li­can sen­a­tors know what they will be vot­ing on today.”

“But we know that every pro­pos­al put for­ward in the Sen­ate has been just as bad or worse for our state than the bad bill passed by the House in May.”

“I urge every sen­a­tor to reject this cru­el mea­sure. And I encour­age all Wash­ing­to­ni­ans to con­tin­ue con­tact­ing their rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Con­gress to tell them to pur­sue real bipar­ti­san solu­tions that pro­tect and build upon our state’s progress improv­ing health care access, qual­i­ty and afford­abil­i­ty.”

“And final­ly, I want to thank Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell for their hard work defend­ing the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton.”

Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki echoed Inslee.

“Today is a shame­ful day for the U.S. Sen­ate,” Pod­lows­ki said.

“Repub­li­cans have just vot­ed to move for­ward on the repeal of the Afford­able Care Act, some­thing we know will end health care cov­er­age for tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, send insur­ance pre­mi­ums through the roof, and slash essen­tial pro­tec­tions for women, seniors, and those with pre-exist­ing con­di­tions.

“It’s despi­ca­ble how they have slammed this effort through the Sen­ate with no hear­ings, no trans­paren­cy, and no effort to work with Democ­rats to actu­al­ly make health care bet­ter in this coun­try. Repub­li­cans have made their pri­or­i­ties crys­tal clear with this vote — they will end health care for mil­lions in pur­suit of pass­ing one of the biggest tax cuts in his­to­ry for the rich­est 1%. It’s com­plete­ly back­wards.”

“I want to thank our Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell for vot­ing against this effort to slash health care for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. They are true cham­pi­ons for Wash­ing­ton state and we’re lucky to have them fight­ing for us in D.C. as the effort to save health care con­tin­ues and the Sen­ate moves towards a final vote.”

“The irony is not lost on mil­lions of Amer­i­cans that the Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors who vot­ed to take away their care enjoy one of the best health­care plans in the nation. We will fight at the bal­lot box to turn these folks out of office, but espe­cial­ly to make sure their House Repub­li­can col­leagues in Wash­ing­ton State — [Cathy] McMor­ris Rodgers, [Dave] Reichert, [Jaime] Her­rera Beut­ler and [Dan] New­house — are turned out of office in the 2018 elec­tions.”

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