U.S. Senate delays health care vote while McCain recovers

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The U.S. Senate will delay voting on the Republican health care bill until U.S. Senator John McCain has returned to work after recovering from surgery, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on late Saturday night.

McCain, a Republican from Arizona, underwent a procedure on Friday to remove a 5-centimeter (1.9-inch) blood clot from above his left eye. The surgery was successful and the senator will stay at home next week while he recovers.

McConnell said on Saturday night that the Senate would defer consideration of the Better Care Act until McCain returns to Washington, D.C. “[My wife] Elaine and I, along with the entire Senate family, wish John the very best and wish him a speedy recovery,” he said in a statement.

Republicans had hoped to vote on the health care bill next week, but two Republican senators – Susan Collins and Rand Paul – have already expressed their opposition against the legislation. This means that McCain’s absence would have made it impossible for the bill to advance.

It’s uncertain whether McCain would vote in favor of the current bill, but he said in a statement on Thursday that he planned to file amendments to protect Arizona’s Medicaid program. “[The current bill] does not include the measures I have been advocating for on behalf of the people of Arizona,” he said.

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