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Senate debate on Obamacare underway on Capitol Hill

Herb Boyd | 7/27/2017, 10:53 a.m.
“Let the sideshow begin,” Blue Magic sang years ago, but they could have been talking about the GOP charade, the ...
U.S. Capitol Wikipedia

“Let the sideshow begin,” Blue Magic sang years ago, but they could have been talking about the GOP charade, the upcoming vote-a-rama as they reject amendment after amendment on how to repeal and replace Obamacare.

That the senators are even into a debate mode was by a narrow vote, ending 50 to 50 on Tuesday after Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sided with the Democrats against the measure for debate. Vice President Pence broke the tie.

Sen. John McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer after a tumor was removed above his left eye, received a standing ovation from the chamber upon arriving to cast his vote. He voted for the debate but promised he would never vote “for the bill as it existed.”

His expression of opposition resounded from the gallery where a gaggle of spectators screamed, “Kill the bill!”

Late Tuesday evening, the Senate rejected a key proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, in a procedural vote 43-57. Included in the rejection of the GOP’s Better Care Reconciliation Act were bills proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Bob Portman of Ohio.

The merry-go-round continued Wednesday, although it was still unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had the votes to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Seven years after promising to remove Obamacare, the Republicans are no closer now than when they first voiced their disagreement.

A recent finding by the Congressional Budget Office indicates that if the GOP bill passes, 22 to 23 million Americans will be uninsured, with 12 million more uninsured by 2026.

In a following verse in Blue Magic’s song they sang about the “greatest show on Earth.” There is certainly a circus-like atmosphere on Capitol Hill, and at the center of the ring is the GOP ringleader.