John McCain's opposition to the latest GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare didn't quite kill the legislation's chances, though it came pretty close. Still, Democrats are taking pains not to declare victory in public or do anything that smacks of gloating, reports Politico. As Democratic Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted, "This bill is not dead yet. You can relax on October 1. They never let up, and neither can we." (After that date, Democrats will be able to easily kill any repeal effort with a filibuster.) McCain joins Rand Paul as a definite no, meaning Mitch McConnell can't afford one more defection even as Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska both were leaning in that direction. So what next? McConnell isn't saying yet whether he will proceed with a vote on the bill from Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham regardless, reports the Washington Post.
If the repeal effort does indeed fail this month, Democrats want to resurrect bipartisan talks aimed at improving ObamaCare, rather than dismantling it. But given the vast differences in ideas on the left and right about what is necessary, the Hill doesn't see much hope for an "era of bipartisanship" on health care. On Friday night, President Trump called McCain's decision "horrible" but suggested that Republicans continue with the vote. “The most we’ll be is one or two votes short,” he said, per the New York Times. "You can’t quit when you have one or two votes short. You can’t do it." Meanwhile, co-author Graham didn't sound too peeved at McCain. "My friendship with @SenJohnMcCain is not based on how he votes but respect for how he’s lived his life and the person he is," he tweeted.