Six establishment Senate Republicans flip-flopped on their pledge to repeal Obamacare on Wednesday.
Senate Republicans shot down Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) clean Obamacare repeal bill. Paul’s bill, the “Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017,” failed 45-55.
Seven moderate Republicans voted against the clean Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate.
Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John McCain (R-AZ), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME) voted against Sen. Paul’s clean Obamacare repeal bill. All of these senators except for Sen. Collins voted to rescind Obamacare in 2015.
Conservative activists previously branded Sens. Murkowski, Portman, and Capito “traitors” for betraying their promise to the American people to repeal Obamacare.
Conservative activist groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks urged Republican senators to vote for Sen. Paul’s clean Obamacare repeal bill. Ken Cuccinelli of the Senate Conservative Fund recently suggested that his group might primary faux-Republicans such as Capito, Portman, and Murkowski.
Senator Paul wrote in an exclusive op-ed for Breitbart News, “That’s a good question. I say yes, but I tell you this – it’s hard to say yes if we can’t do something as simple as keeping our word. As simple as voting today how we voted before when we were asking to be in charge. If you tell people you’re going to do something, do it. It’s just that simple. Let’s repeal Obamacare.”
After his bill failed, Sen. Paul argued, “It’s a victory for conservatives that we did get a vote for a clean repeal.”
Not only have these six senators voted to repeal Obamacare, they publicly pledged to do so on the campaign trail and in the halls of the Senate. Here are six times these senators promised to repeal Obamacare:
- Lamar Alexander, “The wisest course is to repeal Obamacare and replace it step by step with solutions that lower health care costs.”
- Shelley Moore Capito, “I have consistently voted to repeal and replace this disastrous health care law, and I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk.”
- Dean Heller,“This DC bureaucrat-driven healthcare system will only result in limited health care choices and higher costs for Nevadans.”
- Lisa Murkowski, “This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts. I can’t watch premiums for Alaskans shoot up by 30 percent or more each year, see businesses artificially constrained, or see the quality of public education decline.”
- John McCain, “It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.”
- Rob Portman, “I’m for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.”
FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon called out the Senate’s six hypocrites. Brandon charged, “Our activists have fought for the better part of a decade, led on by campaign promises and actual votes to repeal Obamacare, to get Republican majorities in the House and Senate, as well as a Republican in the White House. Sens. Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, and Lamar Alexander each voted for the very same bill in 2015. We now know that these six senators are Obamacare repeal frauds. Even though we’re still wondering if Sen. Susan Collins is in the right party, at least she was consistent with her vote.”
Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin said that the seven senators who voted against the clean Obamacare bill broke the biggest political promise in history. She said:
Today, seven Republican Senators betrayed their constituents and the American people by breaking what is arguably the biggest political promise in modern American politics, and refusing to vote to repeal Obamacare. For the last four election cycles, Republican candidates have promised to repeal Barack Obama’s signature legislation and as a result, have increasingly been granted more power in Washington by the American people. Now, Republicans are completely in charge and should find it easy to keep this critical promise that lifted them to power. However, Senators Capito, Heller, McCain, Portman, Alexander, and Murkowski should be ashamed for having flip-flopped and voting against repealing Obamacare, just 18 months after they voted to send virtually the same exact legislation to President Barack Obama’s desk. And the seventh, Susan Collins, seems more concerned with critiquing the looks of House members or the sanity of the president than providing relief to the American people from rising costs and deteriorating quality of care under Obamacare. This is precisely the reason President Trump was elected. It is precisely the reason Congress has an approval rating worse than cockroaches. And it is precisely why the American people voted to drain the swamp in 2016. Tea Party Patriots will never give up the fight to fully repeal Obamacare and restore health care freedom to the American people. We call on President Trump to take action to end the congressional exemption from Obamacare so that senators, their families, and theirs staffs are forced to experience the same hardships that they refuse to lift from the American people. Perhaps if they were forced to live under the law that was unfavorably imposed on the American people, they will finally have the motivation to repeal Obamacare once and for all.
Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning issued a statement condemning the six moderate senators who voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015 but have reneged on their promise to the American people. Manning declared
It is sad to see six Republican Senators, John McCain, Shelley Moore Capito, Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman and Lamar Alexander who voted in 2015 to repeal most of Obamacare have now decided to change their votes when it actually mattered and there’s a president in the White House who wanted to sign the bill. This betrayal of their constituents’ trust threatens to leave the failed Obamacare system in place.
This is outright fraud. These senators have repeatedly lied to the American people about where they stood on one of the signature issues facing the nation.
Obamacare has failed. Premiums are higher than ever and the options on insurance marketplaces are dwindling. In the meantime, the employer mandates still create a disincentive against hiring full-time employees and Medicaid expansion is bankrupting state budgets.
Manning concluded, “The American people have become all too accustomed to politicians who say one thing and do another. The Senate Six have proven that the public’s cynicism about politicians is well-placed, for if they had just kept word, Obamacare would be history. The days ahead will prove whether the GOP majority in the Senate is able to keep their election promises. If they fail, fantasies of a 60-vote Republican Senate will be replaced by fears of a Democrat majority.”