The U.S. Senate rejected an amendment Wednesday afternoon proposed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would have repealed most of Obamacare and given Congress two years to come up with a replacement plan.
Democrats were joined by seven Republicans who voted against the measure: Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Rob Portman (Ohio) with a final vote of 55-45, according to CNN.
Three of the senators who voted against the measure — Capito, Murkowski, and Collins — had already publicly stated they would not vote for a repeal-only plan, despite voting for a straight repeal in 2015 when it was clear that former President Barack Obama would veto the legislation.
"Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare, and as we move forward in this process, I urge them to join me in supporting a clean repeal of as much of this disastrous law as possible," Paul said before the vote.
The failed amendment came a day after the Senate barely passed a motion to debate the American Care Act, the Obamacare replacement plan already passed by the House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was able to drum up enough conservative support to receive the 50 votes necessary to pass, with Vice President Mike Pence as the tiebreaking vote.
McConnell said Wednesday that although it won't be easy, GOP leadership isn't giving up anytime soon.
"We’ll consider many different proposals throughout this process from senators on both sides of the aisle. Ultimately, we want to get legislation to finally end the failed Obamacare status quo through Congress, and to the president’s desk for his signature,” he said.