More bad news for the Senate GOP's health care bill: Mitch McConnell will delay it again after John McCain's announced absence following surgery left Republicans short of votes on their marquee legislation. McConnell issued his statement not long after McCain's office disclosed that he had undergone surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye, and had been advised by his doctors to stay in Arizona next week to recover, per the AP. With McConnell's health care legislation already with no votes to spare, McCain's absence meant it would become impossible for the majority leader to round up the votes needed to move forward. "While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act," said McConnell. He did not say when he would return to the health care bill.
Even before Saturday night's developments, the fate of the health care legislation looked deeply uncertain in the Senate. In addition to two announced GOP "no" votes from moderate Susan Collins of Maine and conservative Rand Paul of Kentucky, there were at least a half-dozen other Republican senators withholding support from or expressing reservations about the bill McConnell released Thursday. With the vote now indefinitely postponed, GOP success in its long-promised ObamaCare repeal grows all the more uncertain, despite heavy lobbying in recent days by Trump administration officials. In Phoenix, Mayo Clinic Hospital doctors said McCain underwent a "minimally invasive" procedure to remove the nearly 2-inch clot and that the surgery went "very well," a hospital statement said. (Read more John McCain stories.)