During Tuesday’s vote on a motion to proceed with debate over repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), protesters interrupted proceedings.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was in the process of introducing the motion to proceed, while Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) presided over the chamber. As McConnell began speaking, loud chanting was suddenly heard in the Senate gallery, as protesters were shouting “Kill the bill! Don’t kill us!” and “Shame! Shame! Shame!” Senator Portman promptly called on the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to remove the protesters from the gallery.
Watch the moment below:
JUST IN: Protesters disrupt Senate health care vote with chants of "kill the bill!" and "shame, shame, shame!" https://t.co/bUeCnVw0tL
— CNN (@CNN) July 25, 2017
Moments before the vote, McConnell had secured enough members of the Senate Republican caucus to vote “yea” on the motion to proceed, including holdouts like Senators Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), and Mike Lee (R-Utah). The two “no” votes came from Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). With Vice President casting the tiebreaker vote, the motion to proceed narrowly passed.
Senators will now debate on what type of repeal bill they want passed — full repeal of Obamacare with no replacement, a repeal-and-replace plan, or some version of “skinny repeal” which would end the Obamacare health insurance mandate and the medical device tax. As of this writing, however, the Senate has held zero public hearings on its version of Obamacare repeal — in comparison to nearly two dozen public hearings on the Affordable Care Act in 2009 — making it anyone’s guess as to what will actually be in the bill that Republicans are aiming to pass before the August recess.
McConnell is also weighing the option of hammering out a conference bill with members of the U.S. House of Representatives prior to sending the final legislation to President Trump’s desk, who has indicated he will sign any repeal bill Congress gives him.
Matthew P. Robbins is an economics reporter for Grit Post covering wages, budgets, and taxes. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his husband and two cats.