Just a week after their efforts appeared dead, Senate Republicans have taken a successful step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act, Politico reports. According to Mediate, a motion to proceed on the healthcare debate passed the Senate 51-50 on Tuesday with Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. Sen. John McCain rushed back to vote after being diagnosed with brain cancer, casting what was the deciding vote for the motion. Sens. Rand Paul, Dean Heller, and Rob Portman were all last-minute yes votes. The only two Republican senators to vote against the motion were Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. The motion passed as protesters chanted "shame" and "kill the bill."
Politico calls the successful vote a "big win" for President Trump and Republican lawmakers. They will now be moving forward with repealing ObamaCare without a clear idea of what—if anything—it will be replaced with. The AP expects a "weeklong debate" and frames what comes next like so: "Technically, Tuesday's vote meant the Senate would consider a measure the House approved in May eliminating much of Obama's statute. ... The Senate faces 20 hours of debate and a long parade of amendments, and if a measure eventually emerges it is likely to look quite different." A likely goal now appears to be passing a bill that erases small portions of the Affordable Care Act, including the medical device tax and the individual and employer mandates, and then coming up with a final version in concert with the House. (Read more health care reform stories.)