Speed Reads

Graham-Cassidy

Could John McCain kill the Republican health-care bill again?

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stunned his colleagues in the Senate when he torpedoed the Republican health-care bill with a tie-breaking no vote in July. With the GOP prepared to send its latest iteration of the health-care bill to the floor sometime next week, McCain is now poised to potentially make or break the legislation yet again.

Republicans have a Sept. 30 deadline for passing a health-care bill with only 50 votes. The Congressional Budget Office won't have its analysis on how much the bill would affect coverage or its costs for consumers until October. Additionally, the hearing on the bill will be before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee, which "does not have primary jurisdiction over health care, making a formal markup of the bill impossible," Politico writes.

Despite the bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), being McCain's close friend, McCain has stressed to Politico that he is dissatisfied with how his party is pushing the bill. "Nothing has changed," he said Wednesday. "If [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell wants to put it on the floor, that's up to McConnell. I am the same as I was before. I want the regular order."

Asked to clarify if that means he is voting no, McCain replied: "That means I want the regular order. It means I want the regular order!"

Three GOP defections would kill the bill. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are believed to be opposed to the bill. In addition to McCain, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is reportedly on the fence about the legislation.