After seven years of speaking out against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the GOP controlled U.S. Senate is about to take their first vote under the Trump administration on Healthcare.
The first session of the day has concluded, with senators from both parties stating their perspectives on the forthcoming vote. The video of this session can be seen here.
The vote itself is a procedural vote to open up debate on a bill, not a vote on the bill itself. This means that even if this procedural vote passes, it is not guaranteed that a new healthcare bill will pass, though it makes it significantly more likely.
It is far from assured, however, that even this procedural vote will pass. To succeed, 50 yes votes are required. Democrats, who hold 48 votes, are unlikely to contribute any "yes" votes to the final count. Several Republicans have publicly voiced reservations about this procedural vote and as of now are considered undecided. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is expected to be a no vote.
The Republicans can afford to lose 2 of their 52 members, but no more.
The New York Times has a live info-graphic that will track the votes in real time, drawing attention the Senators who are seen as the key potential swing votes.
Somewhat dramatically, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) traveled 2000 miles after a brain cancer diagnosis to contribute his vote to the final tally, greatly improving the votes chances of success.
Update 1:57 pm: The Senate is on break and expected to reconvene at 2:15 pm.
Update 2:29 pm: Protesters have started chanting "Kill the Bill!" in the Senate. Meanwhile, Five Thirty Eight reports that Senators Cruz, Heller, Portman, Paul will vote yes. All had previously expressed reservations. Sen. Capito (R-W. VA) has tweeted her support as well.
Update 3:32 pm: Voting has begun. Chants can still be heard in the hallway.
Update 2:40 pm: 50 votes have yet to be secured. Republican Senators Johnson (R-WI) and McCain (R-AZ) have yet to vote. The only GOP "no" votes so far have been Senators Collins (R-ME) and Murkowski (R-AK).
Update 3:01 pm: Sen. McCain has arrived and voted yes. Sen. Johnson followed immediately after with a yes vote. 50 votes have been secured, allowing debate to begin on the Senate bill.