By: Zack Duvall
With the Senate set to vote on opening the floor for debate on the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, John McCain’s (R-AZ) office announced on Monday that the Senator would be present for the vote.
McCain had been recovering in his home state of Arizona after doctors diagnosed him with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and is expected to play a vital role in vote for Republican leadership.
The vote on Tuesday is set to be over allowing formal debate to begin on the Senate floor over the new Republican healthcare proposal, unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last Thursday in a meeting with GOP lawmakers. The new bill being proposed by Republicans is a heavily-amended version of a 2015 House GOP bill that was vetoed by then President Barack Obama.
The new bill has drawn vocal criticism from some Republicans which has led to the delay in legislation and current stalemate within the party.
The vote Tuesday is crucial for Republican leadership because if they fail to gather enough support from within the party for the current bill, experts and GOP members alike say it would be time to move on to other legislative matters and would be a major political loss for GOP members and leadership going into the August recess.
“Now it’s time to fish or cut bait. Let’s get on with it. We have other things to do.” Senator Mike Rounds told reporters Monday morning. Rounds is just one of the Republicans growing frustrated with the current state of the healthcare debate.
President Trump has also been putting heavily vocal and constant pressure on lawmakers to get legislation passed and has shown increasing frustration with the slow progress in a Republican held congress.
“After 7 years of talking, we will soon see whether or not Republicans are willing to step up to the plate.” The President said in a social media post on Tuesday morning.
McCain’s return is expected to be a vote in support of the new bill and allowing for the formal debate on the law to begin. Susan Collins (R-ME) has said she will be a ‘no’ on the new bill as has Rand Paul (R-KY).