Schumer praises McCain for ObamaCare repeal opposition

Schumer praises McCain for ObamaCare repeal opposition
© Greg Nash

The Senate’s top Democrat offered praise for Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEx-Montenegro leader fires back at Trump: ‘Strangest president' in history McCain: Trump plays into 'Putin's hands' by attacking Montenegro, questioning NATO obligations Joe Lieberman urges voters to back Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez in general MORE (R-Ariz.) after he said he would oppose the latest ObamaCare repeal bill, which narrows the chance that Republicans can get the legislation to President Trump’s desk.

“John McCain shows the same courage in Congress that he showed when he was a naval aviator,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (D-N.Y.) said an hour after McCain’s statement.

“I have assured Senator McCain that as soon as repeal is off the table, we Democrats are intent on resuming the bipartisan process.”

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McCain is the second Republican, after Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMcCain: Trump plays into 'Putin's hands' by attacking Montenegro, questioning NATO obligations The Nation editor: Reaction by most of the media to Trump-Putin press conference 'is like mob violence' Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace MORE (Ky.), to announce his opposition to the bill spearheaded by GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump’s damage control falters Trump: 'I think I did great at the news conference' George Will calls Trump ‘sad, embarrassing wreck of a man’ MORE (S.C) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Lawmakers pitch dueling plans for paid family leave New push to break deadlock on paid family leave MORE (La.), though many believe Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts GOP senator: Trump's changing stances on Russian threat are 'dizzying' MORE (R-Maine) will also oppose the legislation.

Republicans can only afford two defections and still get the bill through the Senate.

McCain urged his colleagues to try to craft a bipartisan health-care bill using “regular order.”

“We should not be content to pass health-care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009. If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs,” he said.

Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderBipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure Sens introduce bipartisan bill matching Zinke proposed maintenance backlog fix Supreme Court vacancy throws Senate battle into chaos MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women Top Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments Dems launch pressure campaign over migrant families MORE (D-Wash.) had been leading bipartisan talks to try to get a deal on a bill that would stabilize the individual insurance market.

But those talks were put on hold earlier this week after the White House and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWhy the rush to condemn a carbon tax? House votes to go to conference on farm bill House backs resolution expressing support for ICE MORE (R-Wis.) warned they would not support a bill stabilizing ObamaCare.

McCain said Alexander and Murray had been “negotiating in good faith” and urged them to resume their talks if a third GOP senator comes out against the ObamaCare repeal bill.

Murray on Friday said she was willing to keep working.

“I’m still at the table ready to keep working, and I remain confident that we can reach a bipartisan agreement as soon as this latest partisan approach by Republican leaders is finally set aside,” she said.

Democrats earlier this week said that they had been making progress and had made concessions to Republicans on giving flexibility to states to change ObamaCare rules. 

They blamed Republican leadership for killing the Senate Health Committee’s bipartisan effort to clear the way for the new repeal effort. 

The goal of the bipartisan deal was to provide funding for key ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reductions in exchange for new flexibility for states.

No other Republicans have said yet if they’re open to restarting bipartisan hearings.