McCain undergoes surgery at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix; GOP delays health bill vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Saturday said he would delay a procedural vote to advance the Senate's health care reform bill while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recovers from surgery.

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The Congressional Budget Office also is expected to delay releasing a new score of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which had been expected to come out Monday, according to a senior GOP aide.

McCain's surgery details

McCain's office on Saturday announced that the senator underwent a "minimally invasive" procedure at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix to remove a nearly 2-inch clot from above his left eye. Mayo Clinic surgeons said the surgery went "very well." McCain is expected to spend at least the next week recovering at home.

McConnell released a statement that said, "While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act."

Vote delay details

McConnell did not offer any timeline for when a vote could be held on the bill, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" suggested the timeline would be based on McCain's return. He said, "As soon as we have a full contingent of senators, we'll have that vote."

McConnell previously delayed a vote on the bill in June when it became clear a prior version did not have the support needed to pass.

Republicans can afford to lose only two votes if, as is expected, all Democrats vote against the measure. Two GOP senators—Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Susan Collins (Maine)—have already announced their opposition to the revised BCRA. Collins in a Sunday appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" said, "There are about eight to 10 Republican senators who have serious concerns about this bill" (AP/Los Angeles Times, 7/15; Owens, Axios, 7/16; Everett/Min Kim, Politico, 7/15; Everett/Min Kim, Politico, 7/16; Bennett/Keith, NPR, 7/15; Collins/Sullivan, USA Today, 7/16; Mutikani, Reuters, 7/16).

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