McConnell delays action on healthcare

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Republicans wrestle with impeachment strategy Mattis warns 'ISIS will resurge' without U.S. pressure on Syria MORE (R-Ky.) announced Saturday night that Senate consideration of legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare will be delayed while Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVideo of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Remembering leaders who put country above party Graham-Trump rollercoaster hits dizzying speed MORE (R-Ariz.) recovers from surgery.

McCain had announced earlier on Saturday that he would not be in the Senate next week, depriving Republicans of a key vote.

Without McCain, Senate Republicans likely would not have had the 50 votes necessary to advance the legislation.

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"Elaine and I, along with the entire Senate family, wish John the very best and wish him a speedy recovery," McConnell said in a statement that referred to his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

"While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act."

McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from his eye on Friday, according to statements from his office and the Mayo Clinic. He is recovering at home in Arizona.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have already said they would oppose a procedural vote to advance to the new Senate GOP healthcare legislation, which was unveiled this past week. With all Democrats voting no, that would leave Republicans with just 49 votes, given McCain's absence.

The further delay in the schedule is a problem for McConnell, as opponents of the legislation could use the extra time to pressure wavering GOP centrists to vote against it.

The healthcare bill was already on rocky ground even with McCain, as many speculated whether McConnell could pull together 50 votes.

This is the second time McConnell has had to put off Senate consideration of ObamaCare repeal.

Work was also postponed in late June after it became clear McConnell lacked the support to carry the bill through the Senate.

That prompted a rewriting of the legislation, which won over Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz: 'Of course' it's not appropriate to ask China to investigate Bidens Sunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria O'Rourke raises .5 million in third quarter MORE (R-Texas), a key conservative.

A number of centrist Republicans, however, remain on the fence as McConnell awaits a Congressional Budget Office analysis and score of the new legislation, which is expected on Monday.

McCain, 80, underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix following an annual physical. 

“Senator McCain received excellent treatment at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, and appreciates the tremendous professionalism and care by its doctors and staff," a statement from his office said. 

Updated 10:54 p.m. E.T.