Capitol Alert

‘John McCain has a conscience,’ Bernie Sanders says in San Francisco

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders lauded colleague John McCain on Friday after he announced that he could not “in good conscience” support his party’s latest attempt to supplant Obamacare, a move likely ending the prospects of the GOP’s Graham-Cassidy proposal.

“Thank you, John McCain,” Sanders said at a rally in front of thousands of nurses in San Francisco, where mention of the Arizona Republican’s name drew a smattering of cheers. “John McCain has a conscience, and I wish very much that the rest of the Republican leadership had that conscience as well.”

McCain said in the statement announcing his position that he believes Congress could do better “working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried.”

He said he could not back the Graham-Cassidy proposal without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.

Sanders made his remarks outside a convention held by supporters from the California Nurses Association-National Nurses Organizing Committee. He pitched his Medicare-for-all Senate bill and urged the audience of more than 2,000 to continue resisting the Trump administration’s agenda.

“Even with Sen. McCain’s opposition, our struggle on this legislation is not over,” he said. “And our job is to continue to make sure that the Republicans do not get the 50 votes they need, which, plus the vice president’s vote, will give them a victory.

“So I beg of you, please, do everything you can: Get the word out all over this country, to your friends, to tell them that no Republican should vote for this disastrous bill. And, if they do, they will pay a very heavy political price for that.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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