Donald Trump

‘Nightmare Is Over': Dems React to Health Care Bill Failure

"We are not celebrating; we are relieved," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said

The GOP took a hard blow early Friday when its Health Care Freedom Act, dubbed the "skinny repeal" of "Obamacare," failed to pass in the Senate in a late-night 49–51 vote.

Republican Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins crossed party lines to cast key votes to defeat the measure, with McCain's move drawing cheers from the Democrats on the Senate floor.

On Friday, former President Barack Obama's spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a statement that the Affordable Care Act  "has always been about something bigger than politics - it's about the character of our country." 

"It's about the dreams protected, and the untold misery and ruin prevented," the statement said. "Today, it remains that way because of everyone who mobilized, organized and made their voices heard."

He went on to say "there will always be more work to do" and called for bipartisan cooperation to "build on this law."  

As news of the GOP bill's failure spread, social media erupted with reactions from Washington.

Lawmakers took to the Senate floor overnight Thursday to vote on the latest GOP health care overhaul measure, just hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the bill's text. The Health Care Freedom Act, called the "skinny repeal," failed to pass in a 49-51 vote, which included "no" votes from Republican Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

President Donald Trump was not happy with the results, tweeting about 2:30 a.m. ET, "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!"

"This is clearly a disappointing moment," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday as finger-pointing in his party began over the failure  that he was "disappointed and frustrated, but we should not give up."

On the Democratic side, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, "the nightmare is over, at least for now." 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, "We are not celebrating; we are relieved--for the Americans who can now keep their #healthcare. We must work together to improve the law." 

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Schumer praised Collins, Murkowski and McCain. 

"I have not seen a senator who speaks truth to power as strongly, as well and as frequently as John McCain," he said. 

Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono earlier Thursday became emotional while talking about the bill. Before mentioning her own battle with cancer, she talked about having lost a young sister to pneumonia in Japan then fearing for her mother's health while growing up without health coverage in the U.S. 

Senn. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) took the floor as she shared her experience with kidney cancer and the comforting notes and encouragement she received from colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She asked where that same compassion was just hours before the Senate voted on the health care bill on July 27, 2017.

"Where is your compassion?" said Hirono, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer in May. "Where is the care that you showed me when I was diagnosed with my illness. I find it hard to believe that we can sit here and vote on a bill that is going to hurt millions and millions of people in our country. We are better than that."

Read how Hirono and other Democratic lawmakers responded to their victory.

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