Georgia senators vote with GOP to open debate on health care repeal

Georgia’s two senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, voted with the GOP’s bare majority Tuesday afternoon to open debate on revising U.S. health care law.

In a dramatic nail-biter, the GOP senate leadership won a vote that many thought they could lose. But Isakson’s and Perdue’s votes on this step were never seen as in doubt.

Every vote counted. The motion to proceed to debate passed 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence voting to break the tie.

There are deep divides within the Republican caucus about what version of repeal or replace would be acceptable. But enough of those who are skeptical were willing to debate the issue to keep it alive. Had the vote to proceed to debate failed, the bill may have been dead altogether.

The win was made possible by Arizona Sen. John McCain, who flew in after cancer for brain surgery, and gave an impassioned speech on comity from the well of the Senate, with a dark red scar across his right eyebrow.

He urged his fellow senators to work together in a bipartisan fashion, to stop heeding polarizing messages and Republicans to work with Democrats to help fashion something that would work.

He also added, “I will not vote for this bill as it is today.”

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