The Senate passed a bill repealing major provisions of Obamacare on Thursday, gaining the support of almost all GOP members, even the staunch conservatives who previously threatened to vote against a measure that didn’t annul as much of the health care law as Senate rules allowed.
But the bill became even bigger in the upper chamber than the one the House passed, as the Senate added provisions, including the repeal of Medicaid expansion, to the legislation. And presidential hopefuls Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with conservative Sen. Mike Lee, sided with most of their Republican colleagues in supporting the bill, which passed in a 52-47 vote (only 51 votes are needed under the rules of reconciliation). Moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Mark Kirk voted against the measure, which would also defund Planned Parenthood. (Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders was absent from the vote.)
To be clear, President Obama is sure to veto the bill. But Republican presidential candidates are running on their desire to repeal Obama’s signature law—and Sen. John Barrasso, a very vocal critic of Obamacare, said this reinforces to the country where Republicans stand.
“This is a clear distinction between what the president is proposing and what Republican candidates running for president would do,” the Wyoming Republican said. “This sends a message that we’re committed to repealing this and replacing it with patient-centered care.”