Senate Democrats stepped up, and they saved Obamacare

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

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Sure, the trio of Republican defectors in the Senate—Collins, McCain, and Murkowski—are getting lots of plaudits for standing up to leadership to kill Trumpcare. But what absolutely has to be recognized and applauded is the unity of Senate Democrats throughout.

Start with the five Democrats who are all up for re-election in 2018 in states Trump won by more than 20 points: Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Jon Tester of Montana. Five more are also in states that Trump won but by smaller margins: Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan. Not one of them gave an inch in working with McConnell to undermine Obamacare. Not one of their votes—even in procedural motions—were in question throughout the process.

Thank Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Patty Murray of Washington, who worked throughout to get the Congressional Budget Office to release analyses of the proposals Mitch McConnell was trying to keep hidden. Without them, we wouldn’t have known how deep their Medicaid proposals would cut. We wouldn’t have known how bad skinny repeal would have been, in every iteration. They were making sure we had the CBO numbers right up until the vote, even though the final bill wasn’t released until two hours before it.

Thank Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Chris Murphy of Connecticut who were ceaselessly on the floor talking about the impact repeal would have had, and who between them had hundreds of amendments at the ready to throw a spanner in McConnell’s works in any way they could. There were countless other Democratic senators from Joe Manchin on one end of the spectrum to Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren on the other who were on the floor day after day, calling out Republicans for their destruction.

And then there’s Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono, the most dedicated hero of all of them, who interrupted her own treatment  for kidney cancer to be there for this fight to save health care.