Republicans failed to pass their last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare on Thursday night in a middle-of-the-night showdown that ended with Sen. John McCain breaking away from his party and voting "no." Republicans couldn't lose more than two votes, and McCain was the third voting against the bill, killing it 49-51.
It was a dramatic night: McCain, who is still recovering from brain surgery, returned to Washington to cast an earlier vote that moved the health care debate forward. But when he arrived to cast his vote on Tuesday's "skinny repeal," he cryptically told reporters to "wait for the show."
The final vote didn't happen until nearly 1:30 a.m. Vice President Mike Pence was busily trying to persuade McCain to support the bill, taking him off to chat in a side room. Other Republican senators huddled around Sen. Lisa Murkowksi, trying to convince her to change her mind. Then, showtime! McCain walked onto the Senate floor for his finale:
It was McCain's "Maverick moment," as CNN dubbed it, because McCain has long portrayed himself as the Republican brave enough to speak out against his party if he disagrees with them — even if he usually then votes along party lines.
The accolades for McCain came thick and fast:
One depicted him as Superman.
Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted, "Someday I'll get to tell my grandkids" what McCain told him as they went in for the final vote.
But wait a minute.
McCain wasn't the only Republican to vote against the bill. Sen. Susan Collins from Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska both voted against it — and have been openly critical of the measure from the start — setting up McCain's third vote. Here they are right before they voted:
And people are not happy that these two women aren't getting credit.
Particularly because so much of the spotlight has been focused on McCain.
Some pointed out that McCain might have voted "no" now, but he'd seemed to be wavering back and forth — and had voted "yes" to get things to the point of last night's showdown.
Others said it reeked of sexism.
And that McCain's "no" vote only counted as the one that killed the bill because of these two women.
Others mentioned that the women were getting erased from history.
And others said that this is simply always what goes on when a man does something. 🙄
Others commented that this is what happens when women are kept out of the decision-making process regarding health care (particularly when it includes defunding women's health care programs).
And some didn't agree that just because Murkowski and Collins are women, they should be applauded.
But regardless of gender, McCain wouldn't have gotten the bill killed without Collins and Murkowski.
Amber Jamieson is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Amber Jamieson at email@example.com.
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