Pence breaks tie as Senate votes to proceed with efforts to repeal Obamacare

McCain health care vote

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as the Senate was to vote on moving head on health care with the goal of erasing much of Barack Obama's law. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Senate has voted to move ahead on health care legislation aimed at dismantling the Obama health law.

The vote was 51-50 on Tuesday, a victory for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump. Last week, McConnell was forced to postpone the vote, lacking the support of conservatives and moderates.

Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.

In a dramatic turn, Sen. John McCain returned from Arizona where he is battling brain cancer to cast a crucial vote on proceeding on health care.

He received a standing ovation from his colleagues on the Senate floor.

The vote sets up days of debate and votes on repealing and replacing Barack Obama‘s health care law. Whatever the Senate approves still requires a vote in the House.

Protesters make their voices heard

Protesters temporarily disrupted the Senate proceedings on the health care bill.

Shouting “Kill the bill” and “shame,” the demonstrators stood in the visitors’ gallery and chanted. They were led out of the chamber by police but could still be heard.

The vote got underway on moving head on health care with the goal of erasing much of Barack Obama’s law. The Senate chamber was packed, with lawmakers standing to cast their votes.

Trump praises the Senate for the vote

President Donald Trump is praising the Senate for moving forward on health care repeal.

He says a vote Tuesday to take up the Republican health care bill “was a big step.”

Trump is speaking at a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (sahd hah-REER’-ee).

Trump is also thanking Arizona Sen. John McCain, who returned to Washington his brain cancer diagnosis, to cast a vote.

Trump adds that he wants “to congratulate the American people” because better health care is on the way.

Watch McCain speaking on the Senate floor below.

Jeff Taylor contributed to this report.

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