The Senate voted down the Republican proposal to repeal parts of Obamacare last week, and according to a new oral history from The Washington Post, it was as tense inside the chamber as it was for people watching the proceedings.

The Post spoke to a handful of Democratic and Republican senators about the vote that, for the time being, crushed the GOP's hopes to overhaul the healthcare system.

Based on the lawmakers' comments, it's clear that Sen. John McCain's decision to join fellow Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and vote against the GOP proposal was a surprise.

GOP Sen. Tim Scott described the lead-up to the vote as a "roller coaster" and said after "

Two previous drafts of healthcare legislation — one that would repeal and replace Obamacare and one that would simply repeal the law — had already failed when McConnell introduced the so-called skinny repeal. The final bill was expected to be the closest to getting the needed 50 votes from Republicans, since it only repealed some parts of Obamacare.

With speeches going past midnight on Thursday over the bill, Vice President Mike Pence showed up to the Senate. Collins told the Post she expected Pence to be the tiebreaker to pass the bill in the event of a 50-50 tie, but realized that was not the case.


Read the full oral history of the vote, and the whole week, at The Washington Post»