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Too Hot for Heller: First So-Called "Moderate" Republican Cracks on Senate Trumpcare Plan

Citing attack on Medicaid, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) says he won't support Senate proposal in its current form

Sen. Dean Heller announced he will not support the Republican health care plan Friday. He is the first Republican senator to announce his opposition. (Photo: AP file)

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) appears to be the first Republican to acknowledge publicly what more than two-thirds of Americans voters (according to polls) already understand—that the Trumpcare proposals put forth by the GOP are simply too aggressive in their attack on the sick and vulnerable.

"In this form, I will not support it," Heller told reporters in Las Vegas on Friday as he held up a printed copy of the 142-page piece of legislation. "This bill... is simply not the answer." And, he added, "It's going to be very difficult to get me to a yes."

Already, a mixed gang of far-right and libertarian Republicans—Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Lee of Utah—said they would not support the bill because it was too generous to low-income and working people, but Heller is the first from the other side of the GOP spectrum saying that the punishment it would inflict on his constituents is too brazen.

As citizens nationwide mobilize nationwide to kill the bill amid a push by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring it for a vote next week, Heller's defection on Friday was seen as an important first step in creating the necessary fractions within the party to stall progress. On the other hand, groups like Indivisible were also quick to recognize that Heller was not immovable in his opposition.

Others noted that his position likely has less to do with taking a firm moral stance and more with his increasingly fragile prospects for retaining his seat in 2018.

With eyes on other vulnerable Republicans in swing states—including Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski in Alaksa—other groups opposing Trumpcare vowed to keep up the pressure.

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