Sen. Capito votes yes on starting debate to repeal Obamacare

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WASHINGTON (AP) — UPDATE (2:30 p.m.):

Shelley Moore Capito speaks with the Gray TV DC Bureau

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging his colleagues to move ahead on health care legislation with the goal of erasing much of the Obama health law.

McConnell told senators seated in the Senate chamber: "We cannot let this moment slip by." He made the remarks ahead of a make-or-break vote to take up the bill. The Kentucky Republican said many GOP senators waited for years for the opportunity to scuttle the 2010 law.

Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged lawmakers to reject it, saying, "Turn back now before it's too late."

A vote to move ahead would set up days of debate and votes. Republicans have promised for seven years to repeal and replace the law.

As McConnell set up the vote, protests erupted, chanting, "Kill the bill."

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West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has become the latest wavering Republican to say they will back beginning debate on legislation rolling back much of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Sen. Capito said in a statement Tuesday, "I will continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of West Virginians. I remain committed to reforming our health care system while also addressing the concerns I have voiced for months."

Capito has been among several moderate Republicans concerned about the GOP bill's cuts in the Medicaid health care program for the poor, disabled and nursing home residents. She's also pushed for added funding for programs that help combat the abuse of drugs including opioids.

West Virginia is one of the nation's poorest states and has an unusually serious drug abuse problem.

"I will continue to push for policies that result in affordable health care coverage for West Virginians, including those who are in the Medicaid population and those struggling with drug addiction," Sen. Capito added.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) issued this statement regarding her vote to proceed to debate on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare:

“Today, I will vote to begin debate to repeal and replace Obamacare. As this process advances on the Senate floor, I will continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of West Virginians. I remain committed to reforming our health care system while also addressing the concerns I have voiced for months. I will continue to push for policies that result in affordable health care coverage for West Virginians, including those who are in the Medicaid population and those struggling with drug addiction.”