Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of three Republicans who helped sink the GOP’s latest bid to repeal parts of Obamacare, on Sunday said Vice President Mike Pence called her “tough” on the Senate floor right before Friday’s vote.
Ms. Collins said she was talking with Arizona Sen. John McCain, another “no” vote, when she felt a tap on her shoulder. It was Mr. Pence, who was at the U.S. Capitol to break a potential 50-50 tie vote.
“And he said to me, ‘boy, are you tough,’” Ms. Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But he softened that by putting his arm around me.”
“He has always been extremely courteous in his conversations with me. He then started talking with John, we were reminiscing in some ways, and then it was obvious he wanted to have a private conversation with John about the bill, so I stepped aside and did not participate,” she said.
The last-minute lobbying from Mr. Pence and others was unsuccessful, as Ms. Collins, Mr. McCain and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted against the legislation, which failed on a 49-51 vote.
Ms. Collins said the Senate should now get to work first on legislation dealing with how to stabilize insurance markets, go through the standard committee process, and produce a “series of bills” on the issue.