McConnell gave no new timetable for the vote when he announced the delay late Saturday, saying only that the the Senate will “defer consideration” of the bill while working on other matters.
In a Senate divided 52-48 between Republicans and Democrats, McConnell can lose no more than two GOP votes and still prevail.
McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from his eye on Friday, according to statements from his office and the Mayo Clinic.
With McConnell’s health care legislation, which already relies on the Senator without exchange of votes, McCain’s absence would mean that the majority leader would not be able to round off the needed votes to move forward, CNBC News reported. “In the meantime, Cheryl and I extend our best wishes to John, Cindy and the entire McCain family and pray for his speedy recovery”.
Even before the development on Saturday night, the fate of health care legislation seemed deeply uncertain in the Senate.
The further delay in the schedule is a problem for McConnell, as opponents of the legislation could use the extra time to pressure wavering GOP centrists to vote against it.
With the vote scheduled for next week, which was postponed for an indefinite period, GOP’s success in Obama’s promised abolition is growing more and more uncertain, despite the recent lobbying of the Trump administration.
A half-dozen key senators, including McCain, were undecided on whether to go ahead with a procedural vote, putting the bill’s future in serious jeopardy before McConnell punted. Democrats are unanimously opposed as are the nation’s major medical groups and insurers.
The newest version attempts to attract conservative support by allowing insurers to offer skimpy coverage plans alongside more robust ones, but also reaches out to moderates by adding billions in help for the opioid crisis and to defray high costs for consumers.
“The senator is resting comfortably at home and is in good condition”, it said.
Doctors ordered a week of rest, the statement from McCain’s office said.
The tissue that was removed is undergoing analysis, and McCain’s office says results should be available within the next several days.