Susan Collins opposes Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Last Updated Sep 25, 2017 11:53 PM EDT

Sen. Susan Collins attributed her decision to vote "no" on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill to the partial score released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) late Monday afternoon.

"It found, as I suspected would be the case, that it would have a negative impact on millions of Americans who are now insured, so it was the final piece of the puzzle that I had been waiting to confirm, Collins told reporters outside her Senate office. "It was clear to me that the Graham Cassidy was not the answer."

Like her colleague Sen. John McCain, who said Friday he would not support the bill, Collins criticized the process by which Senate Republicans were making a last, desperate effort to repeal the Obama-era Affordable Care Act with just a simple majority of GOP senators. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has until Sept. 30 to bring a bill to the floor that can pass under the budgetary tool known as reconciliation, which allows 51 senators to pass a bill, rather than the usual 60.

"One of the problems with the Graham Cassidy bill was it was proposing a sweeping reform in an entitlement program that had been law for more than 50 years without going through the normal process of vetting it and having hearings and debate, and input from the other side of the aisle," she argued. "And that is simply not a good way to legislate."

Collins said she had a "cordial discussion" with President Trump Monday, and she told him she would look at the number numbers again but was not optimistic that she would be able to get to yes.

When asked if she was afraid of retaliation from the president, Collins replied, "I have to do what I think is right. I have to do what I think is right for the people of Maine and the people of this country, and that is what has led me to my decision today."

On Sunday, Collins had told CBS News' "Face the Nation" that it was difficult for her to envision voting "yes" on the bill.

If Senators John McCain and Rand Paul remain firm in their "no" votes, the bill is almost certainly not going to pass the Senate. Sen. Ted Cruz had also said he was currently a "no vote," and there are no Democrats who have said they would support the measure.

susan collins

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) talks to reporters at Capitol Hill on July 27, 2017.

Reuters

CBS News' Alan He contributed to this report.