Senators Collins And Murkowski Are Stronger Together

The real stars of this process are the two Senators who withstood threats from their own party to vote "no."

Every day since Trump was elected, I wake up and check my phone to see what Trump has done during the night. First I check my Twitter feeds to see who Trump has insulted (if Melania Trump was really interested in increasing the success rate of her cyber-bullying program, she would hide her husband’s phone). Then I check to see if Trump has started a new war. If not, I move on to the headlines from the major newspapers.

This morning I was happy to see Republicans had failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the Senate health care bill had been voted down 51 to 49. The major publications were giving John McCain massive amounts of praise for voting “no” on the skinny version of the bill like he promised to do after voting
“yes” to move forward earlier in the week. McCain and Lindsay Graham were on all the news programs talking about how bad this bill was (except Fox which was covering Hillary Clinton and the election again). McCain and Lindsay claimed they wouldn’t vote for the skinny bill unless they were certain that the House wouldn’t pass it. Think about that for a second. These guys would vote ‘Yes’ if they were assured that their yes vote wouldn’t count. Not exactly profiles in courage.

While McCain and Lindsay were playing around with semantics trying to decide if Yes really means Yes or is it a skinny Yes or a fat No, Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had already voted ‘No’. These two senators were against this skinny bill from day one. This bill was just 8 pages long with 2 pages devoted to blocking access to Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings and birth control.

Senators Collins and Murkowski have repeatedly criticized GOP health care proposals, because they would cut funding to Medicaid, a program that provides medical care to hundreds of thousands of people in their states. These Senators withstood increasingly aggressive backlash from their party members including threats of physical violence and financial consequences for their states.

  • Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) told a radio host that if Senator Collins was a “guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” referring to the 1804 duel in which Alexander Hamilton was killed.
  • Rep. Earl Carter (R-Georgia) told MSNBC on Wednesday that someone should “go over there to that Senate and snatch a knot in their a**.”
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Murkowski to say that Murkowski’s vote against opening the health-care debate could have repercussions for federal policy affecting Alaska.

So while McCain and Graham will get the praise and McCain will reclaim his “Maverick” label, the real stars of this process are the two female Senators who withstood threats from their own party to vote ‘No’. These women did what was in the best interests of their constituents; an idea lost on the other republicans as they rushed to pass something, anything to give Trump his win.

In the end, who knows if this ACA repeal is really dead. It could rise up again like the White Walkers but luckily we have two republican Senators and ALL of the democrats who are not afraid to stand up for what’s right. So while I might not agree with Senators Collins and Murkowski on all of their policy positions, they have earned my respect and the gratitude of millions of ACA beneficiaries.