John McCain to return to Senate for critical healthcare vote

July 25, 2017, 7:29am

Just one week after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, Sen. John McCain will return to Washington for a critical healthcare vote.

McCain’s office announced late Monday that the Arizona senator would return to the capital Tuesday to work on a range of topics due to be debated in the Senate. “Senator McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including healthcare reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” his office said in a statement.

The Republicans can afford to lose only two votes in their last-ditch attempt to deliver on healthcare reform, so McCain’s presence will be critical, but there is still no guarantee that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will secure the 50 votes he needs to start the debate on overhauling the system. McCain has previously said he will vote for the motion to proceed even though he has “lots of concerns.”

One of the biggest problems for Republicans is they are still unsure of what they’re voting for. After the second draft of a new healthcare act was abandoned last week, McConnell initially suggested the Senate vote on a repeal-only bill, but President Trump has previously indicated he still favors simultaneously repealing and replacing Obamacare.

“I’m not blindly voting,” Sen. Rand Paul said Monday, echoing the view of a number of Republicans who are waiting to see what the leadership plans to do after the vote, before making up their minds one way or another.