WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has voted to move ahead on health care legislation aimed at dismantling the Obama health law.
The vote was 51-50 on Tuesday, a victory for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump. Last week, McConnell was forced to postpone the vote, lacking the support of conservatives and moderates.
Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.
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In a dramatic turn, Sen. John McCain returned from Arizona where he is battling brain cancer to cast a crucial vote on proceeding on health care.
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.
A short time later, President Donald Trump praised the Senate for moving forward on health care repeal. He says a vote Tuesday to take up the Republican health care bill “was a big step.”
Trump spoke at a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Trump adds that he wants “to congratulate the American people” because better health care is on the way.
Earlier, protesters temporarily disrupted the Senate proceedings.
Shouting “Kill the bill” and “shame,” the demonstrators stood in the visitors’ gallery and chanted. They were led out of the chamber by police but could still be heard.
The Senate chamber was packed, with lawmakers standing to cast their votes.
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