The U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday morning to debate a controversial bill that could repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) — and Hollywood was not impressed.
The vote itself was one marked by tension and protest with all 48 Democrats and two GOP Senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, voting “no,” bringing the final tally to 51-50. Sen. John McCain returned to the Senate floor for the first time since his surgery and cancer diagnosis to cast his vote, and Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote. (Lawmakers will now propose and debate possible amendments to the bill before voting on a final version of the bill.)
According to CNN, protesters gathered in the gallery during the vote, shouting, “Kill the bill” and “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
The vocal outrage was matched by pundits and actors online. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand wrote on Twitter, “I am hard pressed to remember a vote in the U.S. Senate that has treated the American people with less respect.”
Actor Mark Ruffalo took to Twitter to write, “Shameful day. Democracy is in cardiac arrest.” Bradley Whitford took a more sarcastic approach, writing, “‘Don’t help the lepers. You’ll make them lazy.’-Supply Side Jesus” mocking the arguments of those who oppose the Affordable Care Act.
Many chose to direct their anger at Sen. John McCain for returning to vote yes on the motion after undergoing procedures that would have been cost-prohibitive without the benefits of adequate health care. In his remarks about the vote, President Donald Trump personally thanked the senator, calling him “a very brave man” who “made a tough trip to get here,” CNN reported.
In response to McCain’s vote and cancer diagnosis, comedian Billy Eichner referenced Breaking Bad, writing, “A guy who gets brain cancer and remains a heartless a–hole — that’s not a hero, that’s a pilot of AMC.”
Late night host Seth Meyers took a more subtle approach, mocking McCain’s Senate floor speech after Tuesday’s vote to proceed; the senator called for “a return to regular order” and said, “I will not vote for the bill as it is today.” Meyers wrote, “My waiter just brought me soup with a fly in it then gave a rousing speech about how flies shouldn’t be in soup. #Hero.”
Many took to social media to encourage citizens to make their voices heard. House of Cards creator Beau Willimon wrote, “The Senate passed a motion to proceed–only because VP Pence voted. The bill has not passed yet. This is not over. Keep fighting. #SaveACA.”
And several celebrities, including Lena Dunham, Jaime King, and Margaret Cho, tweeted out the same text supporting Planned Parenthood: “CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP #SaveACA & protect care @PPFA – tweet your Senators NOW and tell them to vote NO #StandwithPP.”
See a sample of celebrity tweets below.