By Jordain Carney - 07-28-17 12:34 PM EDT
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Friday is looking forward to "a fresh start" on healthcare reform after joining Democrats to defeat the Republican ObamaCare repeal bill overnight.
He urged his Senate colleagues to put partisanship aside and "trust each other" as they look for a path forward.
"I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to trust each other, stop the political gamesmanship, and put the healthcare needs of the American people first. We can do this," McCain said in a statement.
McCain helped kill the Senate GOP "skinny" repeal plan during a dramatic early-morning vote, which marked a major setback for a key GOP agenda item.
McCain refused to tell reporters ahead of time how he would vote. He appeared to catch some of his colleagues by surprise when he joined with GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowksi (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) to help Democrats defeat the slimmed-down GOP leadership repeal plan.
"It is now time to return to regular order with input from all of our members - Republicans and Democrats - and bring a bill to the floor of the Senate for amendment and debate," he said.
The GOP was harshly criticized for crafting the bill in private. McCain has blasted his own party's process for happening behind closed doors and without public hearings.
McCain added that he has "great faith" in Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to come up with a bipartisan healthcare bill. Both senators have expressed an interest in having the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which they oversee, hold healthcare hearings.
The 80-year-old senator said on Friday that the Senate has recently succumbed to "partisan rancor and gridlock."
"Our inability to address the pressing healthcare needs of the American people with meaningful and lasting reform is inexcusable," he said.
Senators in both parties said in the immediate wake of the failed vote that they were willing to listen to ideas from across the aisle.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in an emotional floor speech, put the onus on Democrats, saying: "Now I think it's appropriate to ask what are their ideas."