Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas on Tuesday said he’ll vote to proceed to debate on a bill that would repeal Obamacare without replacing it, the day after his opposition left Senate Republicans’ efforts to come up with an alternative to Obamacare all but dead.
“I support the President’s efforts to repeal Obamacare, and I will vote in favor of the motion to proceed,” Moran said in a statement to McClatchy’s Kansas City Star.
The senator said repeal of Obamacare should “be followed by an open legislative process to craft healthcare policy that will provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.”
Moran, along with fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, said on Monday that he would oppose the latest draft of a Senate Republican bill to replace Obamacare. Two other GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, already had said they would vote no. Since Republicans control 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats, that version of the GOP’s healthcare bill cannot move forward without Moran and Lee’s support.
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“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” said Moran in a statement on Monday.
Moran, who was the first member of Congress to propose repealing Obamacare years ago, has said all along his goal remains to repeal and replace it. But he wasn’t comfortable with the closed-door process Republicans used to draft their bill.
After Moran and Lee announced their objections on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber would vote instead on a 2015 bill that repeals Obamacare but delays implementation for two years.
Three other Republican senators — Collins, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — have indicated they don’t want to vote for a bill that would only repeal Obamacare without a clear plan to replace it, so the motion might not pass even with Moran’s support.
President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he was “very disappointed” in the failure of Senate Republicans to pass their healthcare bill.
Asked about his reaction to Lee and Moran opposing the bill, Trump said they had their own reasons.
“I was very surprised when the two folks came out last night because we thought they were in fairly good shape but they did,” he said.
Reporters converged on Moran on Tuesday near the subway that runs under the U.S. Capitol. He answered a few questions before an aide told him it was time to go vote.
The questions kept coming.
“C’mon I got to free Jerry Moran,” another senator said, coming up from behind him and clasping him on the back. “Free Jerry Moran!”
Moran took advantage of the disruption to jump across the train tracks, jog up the stairs and disappear.
Lesley Clark contributed.