GOP Healthcare Bill Vote Delayed
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The future of the Republicans' health care bill is once again in peril this week after Sen. John McCain underwent surgery for a blood clot and announced he would not be able to return to Washington to vote on legislation to overhaul Obamacare.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday night that GOP leaders plan to "defer" consideration of the health care bill, which was expected to take center stage this week.
The delay allows more time for Republicans to review the bill, first unveiled last Thursday. But there's no guarantee the extra time will accomplish anything except giving senators more heartburn.
Even before McCain's absence, McConnell faced a daunting path to passing the GOP's Better Care Act. The majority leader needs to secure 50 votes to advance the bill and already had two members -- Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine -- vowing to vote against the legislation. McConnell can't afford to lose one more Republican senator or the GOP's seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare is over -- for now, at least.
The delay keeps Washington at a standstill, as health care is the only pillar of President Donald Trump's agenda that has had any real momentum in Congress, having passed the House in May. So far, White House sales pitches haven't converted skeptical senators to publicly support the bill.
Trump continues to tweet and senior administration officials with policy knowledge have been meeting with lawmakers. But they may not like what they see. Trump continues to have record-low approval ratings and Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy blasted Vice President Mike Pence's weekend outreach to governors as "pretty atrocious."
Meanwhile, the latest Congressional Budget Office report on the bill -- and likely negative headlines for the White House and GOP about people who could lose health care under their plan -- won't be released Monday as previously planned.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, indicted there would not be a long delay.
"I believe as soon as we have a full contingent of senators, that we'll have that vote," Cornyn said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.