Failed Legislation
Failed on July 28, 2017

Policy Summary

In the early hours of Friday morning, Senator John McCain of Arizona unexpectedly voted against a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. The skinny repeal would have eliminated some controversial parts of the Affordable Care Act, such as individual and employer mandates, Planned Parenthood funding, and more. This latest bill would have left 16 million fewer people insured in 2018 and premiums would have risen 20% each year over the next ten years. Sen. McCain was one of three GOP Senators to oppose the repeal, along with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. With three of its own against the bill, the GOP did not have the sufficient votes to move forward with the skinny repeal. This setback marks the third failed attempt to repeal the ACA despite a Republican majority in the House and Senate. LEARN MORE


Earlier this week, nearly a week after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, Sen. McCain voted for a motion to proceed on the health care legislation debate. Sen. McCain also gave a speech in which he condemned the GOP’s partisan leadership and closed-door crafting of the bill. He urged Congress to work across the aisle and expressed his frustration that nothing is getting done. His tying vote allowed Vice President Pence to step in and break the tie and was the reason the skinny repeal bill was open for debate and vote on Friday. His vote to proceed and heartfelt speech made his no vote on Friday an even bigger surprise. President Donald Trump condemned Democrats, Sen. McCain, and the other two Republicans who opposed the repeal, saying they let down the American people. Others praise Sen. McCain’s boldness, hoping it will open the doors for Senate bipartisanship. LEARN MORE

Engagement Resources

This brief was compiled by Ann Furbush. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact



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