John McCain doesn't like how his fellow Republican senators are handling their secret health care bill. But that doesn't mean he won't vote for it anyway.
Arizona Sen. John McCain can always be counted on for a good, angry quote about his fellow Republicans. But when it comes to actually standing up to his party, the self-proclaimed maverick is anything but.
Now McCain is joining some of his fellow Republican senators in feigning outrage at how the all-male group of 13 senators writing the bill to repeal Obamacare are keeping its text such a closely guarded secret:
MCCAIN: "We used to complain like hell when the democrats ran the Affordable Care Act, now we're doing the same thing." https://t.co/wEONV4HNqw
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) June 20, 2017
Yes, Republicans did complain like hell. In fact, Twitter is flooded this week with examples of Republicans accusing Democrats at the time of nefarious secrecy when they passed Obamacare.
The people have a right to know what is happening behind closed doors with secret HC negotiations
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) January 7, 2010
It's simply wrong for legislation that'll affect 100% of the American people to be negotiated behind closed doors - http://ow.ly/W9gq #hcr
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) January 13, 2010
The difference, of course, is that Democrats did not pass Obamacare in secret. As Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) pointed out during a few weeks ago, there were many hearings on the bill, which was crafted in the open with Republican participation and amendments. The Senate debated the bill for 25 days before holding a vote on it.
In stark contrast, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also complained extensively at the time about how Obamacare was passed, has suggested senators will have days, if not mere hours, to see the bill before voting on it.
Even Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services and one of the ringleaders of trying to repeal Obamacare when he was still in Congress, has not seen the Senate version.
While the small and secretive group of Republicans is writing what might be an even more disastrous bill than the House's version, some so-called "moderate" senators and putting on quite a show of claiming they object to the bill and to the process.
But none of them are refusing to vote for it.
And neither is John McCain. He is often happy to express his "concern" — on everything from Russian meddling in our presidential election to Donald Trump's attacks on veterans — but he never puts his money where his mouth is.
He has voted for almost all of Trump's appointees. During the campaign, despite Trump's incredibly personal attacks on the senator, McCain continued to support him. That might have played a role in Trump's reported decision to appoint McCain's wife, Cindy McCain, to an ambassador-at-large position.
If John McCain is so appalled at what his colleagues are doing to destroy health care, with a secret plan to kick 23 million Americans off their coverage and gut Medicaid, there's something he could do about it. He could use his extremely loud and wide platform, as one of the most frequent guests on TV, to denounce the plan and the process and state unequivocally that he will vote against it.
But for all his fist-shaking and harsh statements, McCain never follows through when it matters. And when Republicans vote on this disaster of a bill, it's a safe bet that McCain will cast a vote for his party, instead of for the millions of Americans who will be harmed as a result.