Liberal Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) killed the effort to repeal ObamaCare. It’s the latest defeat for the slim Republican Senate majority on health care, and perhaps the biggest broken political promise in modern history, rivaling Barack Obama’s “if you like your plan/doctor” vow.
“I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of ObamaCare will not be successful,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday before announcing the push to repeal first . “That doesn’t mean we should give up. We will now try a different way to bring the American people relief from Obamacare. I think we owe them at least that much.”
But it quickly fell apart after 7 years of promises that won the GOP the majority in the House in 2010 and 4 years later, the Senate. In 2010, Sen. Murkowski lost the Republican primary for U.S. Senate against the more conservative Joe Miller, who made ObamaCare a centerpiece of the campaign.
She defeated Mr. Miller after she snubbed the voters by launching a general election write-in candidacy, though it was under circumstances that were more than suspect.
In 2014, then-Rep. Capito vowed to repeal ObamaCare–without replacement–in her race against Democrat Natalie Tennant, who took the position senators should focus on repairing the bill.
“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Sen. Capito said in a statement on Tuesday. “I cannot vote to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”
But that’s not the same song she was singing during a tough GOP primary.
“We want our country back,” she said on the campaign trail. “We don’t want government coming in and telling us how to pick our doctor, how to educate our children.”
She would go on to win the ObamaCare-centered race by a large margin.
Sens. Murkowski and Capito both voted “Yes” on the exact same bill in 2015, when Republicans voted 52-47 to repeal ObamaCare because they knew it would be vetoed by Barack Obama. Now that Republicans have the chance to cast a meaningful vote with a president willing to sign it, they caved.
To be fair, Sen. Collins voted “No” in 2015, as well.
President Donald J. Trump wants to move on to tax reform and let the politicians suffer the consequences of their inaction and broken promises.
“I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll let ObamaCare fail,” he said. “I’m not going to own it… We’ll let ObamaCare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”
Majority Leader McConnell told reporters after the senators’ announcements they will be holding a vote, regardless.
“Sometime in the near future, we are going to be holding this vote,” he said. “I remind everyone that there is a two-year delay attached.”