Some GOP senators anxious the measure would go back to the House, where leaders would put it on the floor, pass it and send it to Trump - who has said he would sign whatever lands on his desk when it comes to Republican-passed health care legislation.
The skinny bill is expected to eliminate requirements under the 2010 Affordable Care Act that individuals obtain health insurance or face a fine and that businesses with more than 50 employees provide medical coverage, and to abolish a tax on medical device manufacturers. And there is a concern that if they don't do that, that they have nothing to show for it - that they have a Republican president and a Republican House and a Republican Senate and they couldn't do it, that there are going to be political consequences, that Republican base voters are going to be disappointed and depressed.
After the House passed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare in May, McConnell grappled to get Republicans in the Senate to agree on their version of the bill. Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME voted with Democrats to defeat the measure. At about 1:30 a.m., McConnell said, "It's time to move on". Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick bragged about her Obamacare vote, saying "it's also the one I'm most proud about". "We're not going to do that".
"John McCain is blessed with an internal gyroscope of right and wrong", said Schumer, who negotiated a sweeping immigration bill with McCain several years ago and has been talking with him frequently of late.
"Every Republican who voted to proceed to a phantom bill has voted to disregard the health of millions of Americans".
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"Come on Republican Senators, you can do it on Healthcare".
He made a thumb down gesture and said the "No" - the word that made the Democrats applause and the #republicans gasp as they witness another crash of Trump's campaign promise.
Trump reiterated his threat to "let Obamacare implode", an outcome he could hasten by steps such as halting federal payments to help insurers reduce out-of-pocket costs for lower-earning consumers.
President Donald Trump took to his Twitter account shortly after the vote to admonish the Republicans who sided with the Democrats. "And I'm not pointing my finger at any one person, I think this is an institutional problem for the Senate", Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, told CNN. They were also the only two GOP senators to vote against the procedural vote Tuesday.
Republicans have faced an internal rift over how to replace Obamacare, with hard-line conservatives seeking a bill that thoroughly scraps it and moderates unwilling to support measures that could strip tens of millions of people of their health insurance.
"They should have approved health care last night", Trump said in Brentwood, New York, where he delivered remarks on gang violence. Talks with the House would follow, with the hope of crafting a compromise repeal-and-replace bill that could pass both chambers sometime in the fall. He said if McConnell abandons the health care drive, "he should resign from leadership". Options, the aide said, include simply trying to pass the bill outright, convening a formal conference committee or simply entering informal negotiations in hopes of striking a quick deal.