McCain’s return sets stage for big Senate health bill vote
By ALAN FRAM
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump urged Republicans to “step up to the plate” for Tuesday’s crucial Senate vote on their bill eviscerating much of the Obama health care law. A cliff-hanger roll call was likely, with added drama from Sen. John McCain’s return to the Capitol for his first vote since being diagnosed with brain cancer.
No stranger to heroic episodes, the Navy pilot who persevered through five years of captivity during the Vietnam War announced he’d be back in Washington for the critical roll call on beginning debate on the legislation. The 80-year-old had been at home in Arizona since he revealed last week that he’s undergoing treatment for the disease, but a statement said he “looks forward” to returning for work on health care and other legislation.
As the initial vote approached, it remained unclear exactly which version of the legislation Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would put in play. Republicans expect McCain to support taking up the measure, and his mere presence could make it harder for wavering Republicans to cast a vote against even considering the bill.
Keeping pressure on GOP senators, McConnell noted that many “made commitments to our constituents to provide relief from this failed left-wing experiment. And now we have a real opportunity to keep those commitments.” He added, “I hope everyone will seize the moment.”
In one sign of progress, conservative Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he would support commencing debate. He said McConnell told him the Senate would debate Paul’s proposal to scuttle much of Obama’s law and give Congress two years to enact a replacement — an amendment that seemed certain to lose.
Democrats uniformly oppose the effort to tear down President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Republicans control the chamber 52-48, meaning they can afford to lose just two Republicans with […]