McCain health issues delay Senate action on GOP health care bill

Credit: Jamie Dupree

Health issues for veteran Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) forced Republican leaders on Saturday night to delay immediate action on a GOP health care bill in the Senate next week, as the Senator's office indicated he will remain in his home state in coming days, leaving Republicans short on votes, after doctors removed a blood clot from above McCain's left eye on Friday.

"While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a written statement.

That news came soon after McCain's office released word that the Arizona Republican would likely be staying in Arizona, instead of returning to Washington on Monday because of the discovery of the blood clot.

"On the advice of his doctors, Senator McCain will be recovering in Arizona next week." read a statement issued late on Saturday evening by his office.

"Tissue pathology reports are pending within the next several days," the statement reported.

The original GOP plan was for a showdown vote on Wednesday to begin debate on the health care measure - but if McCain is back in Arizona, that would seem unlikely to go forward, as GOP leaders need every single vote they can get to keep the health bill alive.

The news about McCain came a few hours after President Trump had used his Saturday radio address to again put public pressure on reluctant GOP Senators to support the Republican health care bill.

As of now, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have said they will not vote to start debate on the bill.

Four other more moderate Senators - Portman of Ohio, Murkowski of Alaska, Capito of West Virginia and Heller of Nevada remain undecided about their votes.

As for McCain, there were plenty of well wishes for the Senator from Arizona.

"Looking forward to a speedy recovery, John," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI).

"Praying for a speedy recovery for my friend," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.