McConnell delays action on healthcare – The Hill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellAre we getting things done? Congressional Republicans disagree McConnell delays action on healthcare McCain to miss week, likely delaying healthcare vote MORE (R-Ky.) announced Saturday night that Senate consideration of legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare will be delayed while Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcConnell delays action on healthcare McCain recovers from medical procedure in Arizona McCain to miss week, likely delaying healthcare vote MORE (R-Ariz.) recovers from surgery.

McCain had announced earlier on Saturday that he would not be in the Senate next week, depriving Republicans of a key vote.

Without McCain, Senate Republicans likely would not have had the 50 votes necessary to advance the legislation.

“Elaine and I, along with the entire Senate family, wish John the very best and wish him a speedy recovery,” McConnell said in a statement that referred to his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

“While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act.”

McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from his eye on Friday, according to statements from his office and the Mayo Clinic. He is recovering at home in Arizona.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have already said they would oppose a procedural vote to advance to the new Senate GOP healthcare legislation, which was unveiled this past week. With all Democrats voting no, that would leave Republicans with just 49 votes, given McCain’s absence.

The further delay in the schedule is a problem for McConnell, as opponents of the legislation could use the extra time to pressure wavering GOP centrists to vote against it.

The healthcare bill was already on rocky ground even with McCain, as many speculated whether McConnell could pull together 50 votes.

This is the second time McConnell has had to put off Senate consideration of ObamaCare repeal.

Work was also postponed in late June after it became clear McConnell lacked the support to carry the bill through the Senate.

That prompted a rewriting of the legislation, which won over Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzKids with illnesses, like mine, deserve better than ObamaCare McConnell delays action on healthcare Five key senators who will make or break healthcare reform MORE (R-Texas), a key conservative.

A number of centrist Republicans, however, remain on the fence as McConnell awaits a Congressional Budget Office analysis and score of the legislation, which is expected on Monday.

McCain, 80, underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix following an annual physical. 

“Senator McCain received excellent treatment at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, and appreciates the tremendous professionalism and care by its doctors and staff,” a statement from his office said. 

Updated 10:54 p.m. E.T.

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