Late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel called Sen. John McCain a hero for his decision not to vote for Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill.
The Arizona Republican said Friday that he “cannot in good conscience” vote for the Senate bill, making it much less likely to be passed. Among the reasons McCain cited was that the bill had not gone through a traditional legislative process or received a full analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. The news sent health care stocks higher. McCain’s decision was somewhat of a surprise given that a few days ago he said he might vote for it and given his longstanding friendship with Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
Thank you @SenJohnMcCain for being a hero again and again and now AGAIN
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) September 22, 2017
Kimmel’s newborn son needed heart surgery in April. After the experience, Kimmel has used several of his monologues to talk about how Obamacare would help other parents in his situation more than the recent proposed repeal bills would.
This week, Kimmel and Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, have traded barbs over the GOP plan that Cassidy co-sponsored with Graham, a South Carolina Republican. The bill would repeal the individual mandate to buy health insurance, convert Medicaid into a block-grant program controlled by states and allow states to seek approval to not require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.
My friendship with @SenJohnMcCain is not based on how he votes but respect for how he’s lived his life and the person he is.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 22, 2017
Earlier this year, Cassidy had appeared on Kimmel’s show, saying he would not vote for a bill that didn’t pass “the Jimmy Kimmel test.” On Tuesday, Kimmel said the Louisiana senator “lied right to my face,” prompting Cassidy to say that Kimmel did not understand the bill.
In addition to McCain, Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, has also said he would vote no. bill. The GOP needs 50 of the 52 Republican senators to vote for the bill on Sept. 30, since no Democrats will vote for it. Without McCain’s and Paul’s announcements, they don’t seem destined to get enough votes, as Sens. Susan Collins from Maine, and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, are also rumored to be leaning against the bill.