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Oof: McConnell delays ObamaCare repeal vote indefinitely while McCain recovers from surgery

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By —— Bio and Archives July 17, 2017

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This might still be true:


But lest you think the repeal of ObamaCare can ever run out of obstacles, prepare to be amazed:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday that he will delay consideration of health care legislation in light of Sen. John McCain’s absence from recent surgery.

McConnell, R-Ky., released a statement on Saturday night saying that he would defer action on the measure while McCain recovers at his home in Arizona.

“While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act,” McConnell said.

Surgeons in Phoenix removed a blood clot from above McCain’s left eye on Friday. The 80-year-old Senate veteran was advised by doctors to remain in Arizona next week, his office said.

If we were distrustful of John McCain in any way, we might speculate that he intentionally scheduled the surgery at the worst possible time to screw his Republican colleagues and make it easier for ObamaCare to survive the repeal efforts, so thoroughly does McCain seem to delight in being the fly in any conservative ointment. Oh yes, if we were distrustful of John McCain in any way, we would be very likely to suggest such a thing:

It’s hard to say right now who’s a yes and who’s a no because the bill itself seems to be in constant flux. As of Sunday, we were hearing that Rand Paul and Susan Collins were voting no, probably for diametrically opposed reasons, but a no vote counts the same regardless of why it was cast. McCain is supposedly a yes, but he can’t vote yes if he’s not there, and it doesn’t appear he’s going to be there any time soon.

I understand the temptation to blame “Republicans” in the abstract for failing to come through on this, at least so far, but the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of the Republican caucus in the Senate is on board with repeal and replace. You’ve got a handful of centrist Nervous Nellies - mainly Collins, Murkowski and Heller. You’ve got a libertarian who’s not even a real Republican - that would be Rand Paul - who will vote against anything that doesn’t comport with his utopian vision of America. And you’ve got a handful of serious conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee who are trying to make the bill better, and they deserve credit for that, but sometimes seem delusional about the political realities that will ultimately drive the vote on this.

If the ultimate bill spares way too much of ObamaCare, it will primarily be Collins, Murkowski and Heller you can blame for that - with a hand from Rob Portman, Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy as well. If we had more conservative states willing to elect real conservative Republican senators, we could get a better bill.

Then again, Arizona is supposed to be a real conservative state, and it keeps electing John McCain. Maybe we really do get the health care debacle we deserve.

Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives |

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by, which can be found at

A new edition of Dan’s book “Powers and Principalities” is now available in hard copy and e-book editions. Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.