When the Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare with a so-called “skinny bill” went under on Friday morning, it was Arizona Senator John McCain who took a lot of the credit for his surprise “no” vote. And yet, it was two Republican women who decided the vote's ultimate fate. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine consistently voted against attempts to open the bill for debate, as well as against other iterations of the attempt to repeal and replace.
And her constituents recognized her for it. When she flew back to her home state on the Friday after the vote, she was greeted at the Bangor, ME airport with a round of applause. Speaking on CNN on Sunday, July 30, Collins said that the moment was “extraordinary, heartwarming, and affirming.”
Collins said that the moment was spontaneous, as some people began to clap, and slowly others joined in. With a smile on her face, she described the scene:
I got off the plane and there was a large group of outbound passengers, none of whom I happened to know. And spontaneously, some of them started applauding, and then virtually all of them started to applaud. It was just amazing. I've never had the happen in to 20 years that I've been privileged to serve in the Senate. So it was very encouraging and affirming.
That's right — Collins literally got a slow clap for her vote against the skinny bill.
The moment went viral on Twitter on Friday.
The photo of Collins smiling, surrounded by applaudig supporters at the airport has been retweeted more than 14,000 times.
Collins was one of two consistent "no"s on the health care votes.
Collins, along with Alaska's Murkowski, were stubborn holdouts against all attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nicknamed Obamacare. Both senators voted against opening the bill to debate at all, as well as all three attempts to repeal the ACA, the only two Republicans to do so. They both said that they had major concerns about the effort to replace Obamacare, specifically citing language to defund Planned Parenthood and changes to Medicaid.