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McConnell: Senate Will 'Defer' Vote On Republican Health Care Bill


Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves a meeting of GOP senators in the U.S. capitol on June 22, when most Republican senators were given their first opportunity to look at legislation aimed at overhauling the Affordable Care Act during the closed door meeting.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves a meeting of GOP senators in the U.S. capitol on June 22, when most Republican senators were given their first opportunity to look at legislation aimed at overhauling the Affordable Care Act during the closed door meeting.

Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla

The Senate will postpone debate on the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act until Sen. John McCain returns to Washington.

The Republican senator from Arizona is recovering from a surgery performed Friday in Arizona to remove a 5-cm blood clot from above his left eye. The surgery was described as a “minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision.”

“While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement he posted to Twitter.

The Republican senator’s absence from the Capitol next week would have complicated the already tight math surrounding a planned Senate health care vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Two Republican senators have already announced opposition to the measure, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. With McCain away, unless one of those two senators changes their mind, Senate Republican leaders are unlikely to meet the 50-vote threshold needed to begin debate on the bill.

McConnell’s announcement follows the news that McCain would be recovering in Arizona next week, according to a statement from his office.

“The Senator is resting comfortably at home and is in good condition,” according to his doctors at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, relayed in a statement from McCain’s office. He’s in “good spirits” after the “surgery went ‘very well.’ “

A chorus of senators weighed in on Twitter, including the Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Sen. Jeff Flake, also from Arizona, put out a statement, saying he and his wife were praying for a speedy recovery.

“I have never known a man more tenacious and resilient than John McCain,” Sen. Flake said. “I look forward to seeing him back at work soon.”

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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