The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

McConnell defers vote on Senate health-care bill as McCain recovers from surgery

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delayed a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare until Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recovers from surgery. (Video: Reuters)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) put off plans late Saturday to vote on a bill to overhaul the nation’s health-care system this week, after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced he would be at home recovering from surgery, leaving Republicans short of the votes they needed to advance the legislation.

McCain underwent surgery in Phoenix on Friday to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. “On the advice of his doctors, Senator McCain will be recovering in Arizona next week,” said McCain spokeswoman Julie Tarallo. A statement from the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix said that the senator is resting at home “in good condition” and that “the surgery went very well.”

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval still doesn’t support the Senate health-care bill. That’s big trouble for Republicans.

In a statement Saturday night, McConnell said that “while John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act,”

Unless at least one of two Republican senators dropped their opposition to moving ahead on the bill, or a vote was postponed until McCain returned, the bill would not have had the support to proceed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a revised GOP health-care proposal on July 13 — but two other Republican senators released a competing plan. Her (Video: Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post, Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Two Republican senators — Rand Paul (Ky.) and Susan Collins (Maine) — have said they will not vote yes to even proceed to the bill. Along with all 48 senators in the Democratic Caucus — and without McCain — their opposition would be enough to block the bill from proceeding to debate. There are 52 Republican senators.

Paul spokesman Sergio Gor said he still planned to vote against proceeding to the bill. A Collins spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.