Congressional Republicans, including Colorado’s Sen. Gardner, vote to allow debate on health care bill

Author: Erin Prater - July 25, 2017 - Updated: July 26, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, after speaking on the Senate floor as he steers the Senate toward a crucial vote on the Republican health care bill. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., voted Tuesday to move ahead on health care legislation aimed at dismantling the Obama health law, lending a crucial vote that contributed to the 51-50 victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump.

All 48 Senate Democrats, including Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., opposed the motion, according to CNN.

Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.

In the statement, Gardner cited “double digit premium increases” and the more than 100,000 Coloradans he says were “forced to pay a penalty under Obamacare instead of purchasing insurance because their options have become so limited and unaffordable” as reasons for voting “yes” on the motion.

“I voted to allow debate today because we can no longer subject Coloradans to a failing healthcare system without working toward solutions, and today’s vote will allow that debate to continue,” he said in the statement. “We can now offer amendments in an open setting to fix our nation’s healthcare system and bring relief to the American people.”

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon by his office, Bennet said “the American people deserve better.”

“It is shameful that Senate Republicans just voted to take up legislation that will affect one-sixth of our economy and harm millions of Americans,” he said in the statement. “Whether Republicans choose to vote for repeal-and-replace or repeal-and-delay, we know both outcomes would be devastating for Colorado families, hospitals, and rural communities.”

Bennet tweeted this morning that the Senate would vote to consider a bill “w/o knowing what it will do or how it will affect CO.”

#Healthcare options appear to be repeal & replace or repeal & run—both hurt Coloradans & are completely unresponsive to health care needs,” he also tweeted.

Shortly after the vote Tuesday afternoon, Bennet tweeted thanks to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for his call for bipartisan cooperation on the issue.

In a dramatic turn, McCain had returned from Arizona, where he is battling brain cancer, to cast a crucial vote on proceeding on health care.

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also opposed the motion, according to CNN.

Last week, McConnell was forced to postpone the vote, lacking the support of conservatives and moderates.

The vote sets up days of debate and votes on repealing and replacing Barack Obama’s health care law. Whatever the Senate approves still requires a vote in the House.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Associated Press

One comment

  • Tannim

    July 26, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Shaneful of Bennet to not even want to discuss it. Whether you agree with ACA or not, the debate should happen.

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