Obamacare repeal bill plunges into new uncertainty – Politico

Republicans’ long-held plans to repeal Obamacare are again in serious doubt, with no clear timetable for a Senate vote following the surprise news that John McCain will be out as he recovers from surgery.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shelved a vote planned for this week following the disclosure of McCain’s procedure, which leaves the GOP clearly short of support to advance the bill. McConnell’s office could give no new schedule for the vote, and most on Capitol Hill are waiting for a pathology report to assess how long it will be before McCain returns after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot from above his eye.

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Privately Republicans said the delay could be as little as a week as McCain recovers in Arizona, though others worried it could stretch for several weeks and jeopardize the entire repeal effort.

Whether the bill would advance even if McCain was in Washington is another question altogether, as the Arizona senator is one of more than half a dozen undecided Republicans, any one of whom could tank the bill.

The two GOP senators who publicly oppose the current draft of the legislation, conservative Rand Paul of Kentucky and centrist Susan Collins of Maine, appeared on several Sunday morning news shows to rain on the bill’s prospects. Both sounded doubtful that the bill would have advanced this week on a procedural vote even with McCain present.

“It would be extremely close,” Collins said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I would estimate that there are about eight to 10 Republican senators who have deep concerns, but how this would all translate out I’m not certain. And I never underestimate Leader McConnell’s skills.”

Asked on “Fox News Sunday” if McConnell has the support of at least 50 Republicans needed to begin debate on the bill, Paul answered bluntly: “I don’t think right now he does.” He said on CBS’S “Face the Nation” that the longer the bill’s consideration drags on, the less conservatives will like it.

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