His bravery was evident as a soldier and a survivor. And now Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is once again gaining victory by battling the foe of brain cancer. He will return to the Senate on Tuesday and give the GOP a significant boost of momentum in their effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
“Senator McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” McCain’s office said on Monday evening.
The senator was absent last week after receiving the diagnosis and then having surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. During the surgery, the cancer was revealed. His vote is crucial because of the numbers needed and the division within the Republican Party.
“I’d personally volunteer to rent an RV and road trip,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said earlier Monday to reporters when asked if the Arizona Republican would be able to return this week.
The GOP leadership is expected to vote on the House-passed health care bill on Tuesday afternoon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will need 50 of the 52 Republicans in the Senate to vote “yes” on the motion to proceed. If McCain did not come back, the GOP could only afford to lose one senator in this initial vote. With him back, they can afford two, and then Vice President Mike Pence can break the tie with his vote.
No-one can be 100% sure how McCain will vote on this procedural vote, but he did call late last week for his caucus to go back to the drawing board and provide a health care bill that came through “regular order.”
“The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care,” he said in a statement last week.
McCain’s office kept a tight lid on when the Arizona Republican could return, but speculation about his quick return was increased on Monday evening when Mitch McConnell prepared the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It is an annual bill that was created by McCain. And then two of the Senate aides said that they expected him to be present for the healthcare motion to proceed.
The diagnosis of brain cancer led to an outpouring of support for the 80-year-old senator, from friends and foes alike. But Kelli Ward, who is wanting the unseat GOP Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) next year, created quite a stir when she challenged McCain to resign and put herself out there as his replacement.
“I hope that Sen. McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible,” Ward said this week. That prompted Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) to say of Ward, “People like her aren’t welcome in the US Sen.”
Are you surprised that McCain may be back on the Senate floor this quickly?