Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced late Saturday that the Senate will defer consideration of the Obamacare repeal bill, a vote was expected for early next week. Sen. John McCain announced he will be out due to surgery – leaving Republicans with even fewer votes.
McCain explained he had a blood clot removed from above his left eye at the Mayo Clinic on Friday in Phoenix, Arizona, and is taking a week to recover from the surgery.
Politico reports that a half-dozen key senators, McCain included, were unsure of a procedural vote taking place, which probably sprung McConnell’s decision to defer voting on the bill due to the worrying numbers. Without McCain, only 49 senators would vote in favour as it stands now.
Sen. McCain’s absence would likely debilitate the bill to proceed as GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky already opposing it and the Democrats united stance against it. This damages the already uncertain fate of the bill passing as Republicans only have 52 votes in the chamber.
McConnell gave no new timetable for the vote when he announced the deferral yesterday, only that the vote has been postponed. “While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act,” McConnell said.
This is not the first time McConnell has postponed a vote on the bill. In June, voting was deferred when a prior version of the bill clearly short of the support it needed to pass.
Sen. McCain has voiced reservations about the newly-revised version of the bill that was released on Thursday. “The revised Senate health care bill released today does not include the measures I have been advocating for on behalf of the people of Arizona,” He said that he would file amendments that would address concerns from his state about how the bill would affect Medicaid.
With no new voting timetable, it is unsure of when the vote for this highly-publicized bill will be held.