West Virginia Republican Unlikely To Face Punishment For Voting Against Health Care Bill

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Phillip Stucky Political Reporter
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Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia is one of the safest Republican members of Congress, but she still opposes her party’s Obamacare replacement, according to an interview published Sunday.

Capito isn’t the only senator to oppose the measure, nine other Republicans announced they didn’t support the legislation when the first edition of the bill was published in June. The first term senator feels the measure takes too much away from Medicaid, a government program her constituents rely on.

“I only see it through the lens of a vulnerable population who needs help, who I care about very deeply,” the 63-year-old lawmaker said in an interview with Politico. “So that gives me strength. If I have to be that one person, I will be it.”

Republican Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Boozman of Arkansas, Susan Collins of Maine, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jerry Moran of Kansas, and Rand Paul of Kentucky all announced they had reservations about the bill as currently written, indicating that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a long way to go before the health care measure will be passed.

The West Virginian won her seat with 62.1 percent of the vote in 2014, and she won’t be up for re-election until 2020. Trump carried the deep red state with 67.9 percent of the vote, leaving only 26.2 percent for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The remaining candidates split the other votes.

The senator is unlikely to face criticism in her state over a no vote on the current measure, especially if other senators vote against the measure as well. Given the fact that West Virginia is currently a strong Republican refuge, the only real challenge Capito faces is a primary challenger. However, she’s unlikely to be unseated because of Republican focus on the effort to replace Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in 2018, which is likely to clear the bench of particularly ambitious challengers.

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