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The Senate voted to begin debate on a bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare on Tuesday after Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell said “we can’t let this moment slip by.”

The 50-50 was announced about 45 minutes after protesters disrupted the chamber by chanting “Kill the bill! Kill
the bill!”

Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was greeted with a standing ovation and cheers as he walked on the Senate floor,
cast a yes vote just days after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted against opening debate.

Two other GOP senators – Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Dean Heller of Nevada – who had opposed
the bill changed their minds and voted in favor of the procedural motion.

President Trump called the vote a “big step.”

“I want to congratulate the American people, because we’re going give you great healthcare. And we’re going to get
rid of ObamaCare, which should have been, frankly, terminated long ago. It’s been a disaster for the American
people,” he said during a ceremony at the White House.

He also praised McCain, calling him a “very brave man.”

“He made a tough trip to get here and vote. So we want to thank McCain and all of the Republicans.”

He also lambasted the Democrats, none of whom voted for the bill.

“We passed it without one Democratic vote,” he said. “And that’s a shame, but that’s the way it is and it’s very
unfortunate.”

McConnell said opening debate would allow all lawmakers to work on making the healthcare plan better.

Earlier, he warned the Republicans to follow through on their seven-year promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare,
echoing comments made by President Trump on Monday that a vote against opening a debate is a vote to preserve
the healthcare plan.

“Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you’re just fine with the Obamacare
nightmare,” he said. “I would urge them to remember the families who are hurting under this collapsing law.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer urged his GOP colleagues to back away from opening debate.

“I will plead one last time with my friends on the other side of the aisle; and I know you have sincerely tried to
modify and change things. Turn back,” Schumer (D-NY) said.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky). who had been a holdout, confirmed in a tweet that he would be on board if the plan was a
straight repeal like the 2015 legislation
that former President Obama vetoed.

“If that is the plan, I will vote to proceed to have this vote. I also now believe we will be able to defeat the new
spending and bailouts,” he wrote.

And Trump said it was time for lawmakers to make good on their vow to get rid of ObamaCare.

“The American people have waited long enough. There has been enough talk and no action for seven years. Now is
the time for action!,” he wrote on Twitter.
US Senate passes bill to
begin debate on repealing
Obamacare