McCain, in hero's return to Senate, calls for bipartisanship

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 27, 2017

The 80-year-old McCain, recuperating after surgery in his home state of Arizona, tweeted a similar message, announcing he would be back in action in the Senate on Tuesday. And he is likely to ease Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plight by voting to begin debate on a health care bill.

Senate Republicans on Tuesday resuscitated their health care legislation for now, narrowly clearing it past a key test vote with the help of Sen. John McCain is heading back to work Tuesday ahead of a crucial vote on health care reform. The other bit of beltway drama to watch for is how John McCain votes on the clean repeal measure if it takes place.

But the narrow victory on a simple procedural matter raised questions about whether Republicans can muster the votes necessary to pass any of the various approaches to repeal. We had amendments, we had votes, we had no party-line votes within the committee.

In a statement posted later on her website, Ward said McCain's cancer is "both devastating and debilitating" and he "owes it to the people of Arizona to step aside" when he's no longer able to perform his duties. "We are his equal!"

McCain's office announced on July 19 that his doctors discovered a brain tumor while he was undergoing a procedure to remove a blood clot above his left eye at the Phoenix Mayo Clinic Hospital.

Just hours before the announcement was made, McCain's colleagues expressed doubts that he'd be in the chamber in time for the vote. "Many people understandably would be curled up in bed in the fetal position".

Nine Republicans, ranging from moderates such as Susan Collins of ME to conservatives such as Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted against the bill, which would have made deep cuts to Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, and reduced Obamacare subsidies to lower-income people to help them defray the cost of health insurance. He refused to tell fellow senators and reporters how he might vote.

"When dealing w/ a complex issue that affects millions of Americans & 1/6th of our economy, we must proceed carefully", she said on Twitter, explaining her vote against the Senate motion to proceed. If the Republicans failed to garner 51 votes to open debate, the whole Obamacare repeal fiasco would have collapsed then and there in an ignominious cough of dust (for now). Sen. Now the Republican health care plan will move into the floor debate phase, despite there still not being any details at all on the "replace" part.

Yet Portman and other undeclared Republican senators were also being pounded by the White House.

And immediately afterward, he gave a lengthy speech on the Senate floor in which he excoriated the process used to craft the bill, said he wouldn't support the current version, predicted it would fail, and called for a bipartisan solution. But he has not been a booster of the GOP health bill.

Without naming them, he mentioned "female senators from the Northeast" and said, "If it was a guy from South Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr style", a reference to the firearms duel in which Burr killed Alexander Hamilton.

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