Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to the podium Friday during a press conference to lavish praise on the three Republican senators who voted against the skinny repeal: Sens. John McCain (R-AL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Susan Collins (R-ME).
On McCain, Schumer noted that he and the one-time presidential nominee “have been friends for a very long time, ever since the Gang of Eight, which we put together. And I have not seen a senator who speaks truth to power as strongly, as well, and as frequently as John McCain.”
“The very same courage he showed as a Naval Aviator in Vietnam, he showed last night, and has shown time and time again,” he continued.
Schumer went on to take a feminist tack when praising the other Republican lawmakers who eschewed Trump’s agenda.
“And certainly not to be forgotten, of equal praise, are Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski,” he said. “They were amazing. And, women are, in so many instances, stronger than men. They brag less about it, but they are.”
“And last night sort of proved that. And as somebody who is in a family of strong women, I very much appreciate their strength, their courage, and their dedication to principle, despite the entreaties,” Schumer concluded.
Despite their demoralizing loss on Friday, Senate conservatives are already looking ahead to a new approach that can surpass the crucial 51-vote threshold.
“I believe Obamacare will be repealed,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told reporters shortly after the 49-51 vote came in. “On the merits, I think we are quite close. I think there are 45 or 46 votes, and I think we’re a few votes away.”
However, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) seemed to imply that the party would shift gears and instead tackle tax reform.
“We have so much work still to do, and the House will continue to focus on issues that are important to the American people,” Ryan said. “At the top of that list is cutting taxes for middle class families and fixing our broken tax code. I’m glad that members will now take time to hear directly from those they represent and make the case for historic tax reform that we intend to pursue in the fall.”