John McCain, in his return to the Senate chamber following a brain cancer diagnosis, vowed not to vote for the Republican health care bill in its current form, even as he salvaged the party's drive to repeal Obamacare by voting in favor of opening debate on the legislation.
"I will not vote for this bill as it is today," McCain said before his fellow senators said with direct emphasis on each word. "It’s a shell of a bill right now, we all know that."
The Arizona Republican did in fact vote for what's known as the motion to proceed, allowing it to pass thanks to a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence. But he said that "changes urged by my states' governor will have to be included to earn my support for final passage of any bill."
Throughout his speech, McCain urged lawmakers to come together and make progress on policy rather than engage in partisan squabbles influenced by the "bombastic loudmouths on the radio, television and the internet."
"To hell with them," he said. "They don't want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood. Let's trust each other," adding that the only thing the Senate has accomplished in 2017 is confirming Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.