Senate Republicans to Open Debate on Obamacare Eepeal After 51-50 VoteWorld | July 26, 2017, Wednesday // 09:34| views
The US Senate voted 51-50 Tuesday to proceed with a debate on Republican plans to repeal Barack Obama's health care reforms, according to France24.
The vote was a victory for President Donald Trump, who spent weeks cajoling, strong-arming and warning Republicans to get on board with his effort to overhaul Obamacare.
Despite the vote, several Republicans remain skeptical about how the new plan could affect millions of Americans.
In recent weeks, several measures have been considered -- but ultimately collapsed, revealing fissures within the Republican Party on how to reach a goal they have had since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010.
"This was a big step," Trump said shortly after the vote at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, calling Obamacare a "disaster for the American people."
Senator John McCain, who announced last week he is suffering from brain cancer, cast a vote for the measure, leaving the total at 50-50.
All 48 Democratic and left-leaning senators voted against, along with Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.
Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie, as the US Constitution calls on him to do in such a case.
Shortly before the vote, about 20 protesters burst into the Senate's public gallery in a bid to interrupt the proceedings, shouting "Shame!" before being removed by Capitol police.
Tuesday's vote was only a first step. Senators will now launch into long hours of debate, with Republican conservatives and moderates divided over how to proceed.
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