Despite conceding two party votes to the Democratic opposition, Senate Republicans rallied enough support Tuesday to send the ongoing healthcare debate to the floor for open discussion.
The procedural vote was dramatic, tallying multiple last-minute supporters and the critical involvement of Sen. John McCain, for whom the vote was initially postponed, to achieve a 50-50 count. Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie.
"I'm very happy to announce that with zero of the Democrats' votes, the motion to proceed on health care has moved past and now we move forward toward truly great health care for the American people," President Donald Trump said at a White House press conference. “We look forward to that. This was a big step.”
As debate on the health care bill heads to the floor, with 20 hours committed for arguments by both sides, the fate and the contents of any legislation remains uncertain.
Some expect the Republican proposals to unfold in the following series: a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act; the BCRA bill detailing the “consumer freedom amendment” and requesting $100 billion more for Medicaid funding; amendments to the House GOP bill; and a repeal specific Obamacare elements, such as individual and employer mandates and medical-device taxes.
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