Leahy, Sanders Condemn Senate Obamacare Repeal Vote | Off Message

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Leahy, Sanders Condemn Senate Obamacare Repeal Vote


Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders
Vermont’s two U.S. senators lambasted the Republican-controlled chamber’s decision Tuesday to begin debating repeal of the Affordable Care Act, calling it “dangerous” and “disastrous.”

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined their 46 Democratic and independent colleagues, along with two Republicans, in opposing the effort, but Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie. That allowed debate to go forward on legislation that could fundamentally alter the country’s health care system.

The vote came as a surprise to many, who assumed President Donald Trump’s effort to do away with Obamacare had failed last week after four key Republican senators announced they wouldn’t support a proposed replacement bill. Tuesday’s vote allows the debate on new health care legislation to proceed, but it’s unclear what version, if any, will actually pass.

In a statement released shortly after the vote, Sanders said, “The vote today to proceed on the health care bill is a step toward passing the most dangerous and destructive piece of legislation in the modern history of our country.” He added, “Make no mistake about it, thousands of Americans every year will die unnecessarily if this legislation is passed.”

Leahy responded similarly, calling the legislation “rash and disastrous” in a statement.

“Millions upon millions of Americans’ health is at stake,” Vermont’s senior senator continued. “This cynical vote is intended to lead to a final Trumpcare plan to kick millions of Americans off their insurance. Trumpcare is a tax plan, disguised as a health plan, to slash hundreds of billions from the Medicaid help that is vital to millions of Americans.”

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