What's next in the Senate health care debate

US Republican Senator from Arizona John Mc Cain walks out of the Carriage entrance after the Senate passed the motion to proceed with the repeal

Nor did it guarantee success on Tuesday's vote for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is managing a balky GOP caucus with nearly no room for error in the closely divided Senate. Multiple Republican senators have raised objections to each health care proposal that has been offered, leaving McConnell and Trump in a very hard spot.

By a single vote, the Senate cleared the way for an epic battle over the future of the health law.

But the path forward was no clearer, as the Senate soon after voted down a Republican plan to repeal and replace former president Barack Obama's signature health care reform. The House narrowly approved a repeal bill in early May, but only after Republicans overcame their own difficulties in that chamber.

President Donald Trump gave McCain a shout-out via Twitter following the news.

Democrats have blasted the secretive process, accusing Republican leaders of rushing a mammoth bill to the floor without sufficient discussion or debate. However, exactly what legislation lawmakers would be debating remained unclear to many of them late Monday.

And the situation was eerily reminiscent of a similar scenario involving McCain's good friend, the late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of MA, who returned to the Senate in July 2008 while battling brain cancer to vote on Medicare legislation, his dramatic entry in the chamber eliciting cheers and applause.

McCain ended his speech by thanking his colleagues for all the kind works and prayers they have offered him following his cancer diagnosis.

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"I voted for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue", he said.

McCain urged the Senate to embrace the longstanding principles of bipartisanship and compromise to make incremental progress and make America a better country.

The Arizona senator has emerged as one of Trump's most outspoken GOP critics.

The first, a package that included the repeal-and-replace draft Senate leadership wrote up this summer but never made it to a floor vote, failed on a series of procedural votes Tuesday night.

She says, "We know that he will bring that unflappable spirit to his latest challenge". As The New York Times explained in an article posted earlier today, the procedure from here is the process under which that final bill will take shape.

After he voted, McCain stood at his seat and accepted hugs and handshakes from senators in both parties, drawing laughter from the spectators' gallery when he and Vermont Sen. The Senate's amendment process will unfold over the next several days.

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