Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Girls & Women

66.7% of the Republican Senators to Kill Health Care Repeal Were Women

Arizona Sen. John McCain made a brave and bold return to Congress this week after being diagnosed with brain cancer. The senator is making headlines for casting the deciding vote against his own party’s “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, just days after voting to send the bill to a Senate vote on Tuesday.

Take Action: Sign The Petition To Stand For US Foreign Assistance

While McCain’s vote was crucial in preventing the legislation from passing, two senators played an equally important role in opposing the bill that would have stripped healthcare benefits from 16 million Americans.

Those two senators are Maine’s Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

In just 24 hours, these two women voted no three times on their own party’s attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

On two separate occasions, Collins and Murkowski cast the sole “no” votes on the healthcare bill before McCain joined in on Friday morning. But as women in Congress, Collins and Murkowski’s perspectives are already in a substantial minority on a daily basis.

Women comprise a stark minority in the 100-person Senate: there are just 21 women in the Senate overall — five Republicans and 16 Democrats.

Read More: 5 Times John McCain Proved He’s a Global Citizen This Year

Despite hailing from opposite corners of the nation, both Collins and Murkowski viewed the healthcare bill as detrimental to their constituents and America as a whole.

“I want greater access and lower costs. So far, I'm not seeing that happen,” Murkowski told Vox in mid-June.

Murkowski’s home state of Alaska bears the highest healthcare costs in America, and thousands of Alaskans rely on the state’s expanded Medicaid program.

Like the Alaska senator, Collins refused to a push through a bill that she believed would limit Americans’ access to healthcare

"I cannot support a bill that is going to result in tens of millions of people losing their health insurance,” she told MSNBC last month, “I am worried about the impact on people who are very vulnerable.”

The pair’s commitment to “walking the walk”  has not come without backlash. President Donald Trump took to Twitter, claiming Murkowski “really let the Republicans, and our country down yesterday.”

The Maine Senator was also targeted as a result of her opposition to the bill. The Associated Press reported that Texas Republican congressman Blake Farenthold singled out Collins, blaming the party’s lack of progress in repealing and replacing Obamacare on “some female senators from the Northeast.”  

Read More: How the First Latina Senator Is Fighting Lack of Diversity in Congress

“If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” he said.

It is no wonder Collins and Murkowski disagree with the healthcare replacement bill — they, along with every other female senator, were not included in the group of 13 men that originally drafted the bill.

While they may have been excluded from the initial stages of the bill’s drafting, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were the driving forces behind its ultimate failure.

And, it appears, they’re not going to back down now.

When asked if she had second-thoughts on her vote, Murkowski was crystal clear:  “No second thoughts at all. None.”