They are two of only five female Republican senators – but Collins and Murkowski have shown their strength time and again in the healthcare debate

In a historic first, Vice-President Mike Pence was called to the Senate floor. His job was to cast a tiebreaker vote, after two Republicans split with their party on an issue of critical importance to Donald Trump personally and to his agenda.

The rogue senators were Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and the issue was the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. With Pence’s help, DeVos was confirmed. But it would not be long before a revolt by Collins and Murkowski would once again require Pence’s intervention.

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