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 McCainMark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers wait for Trump's next move on border deal Mark Kelly launches Senate bid in Arizona 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 SchumerHouse Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration Mandatory E-Verify: The other border wall Trump says he 'didn't need to' declare emergency but wanted 'faster' action 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 PaulBusiness, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (Ky.), to announce his opposition to the bill spearheaded by GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war Graham seeks new Rosenstein testimony after explosive McCabe interview Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general MORE (S.C) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyIvanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation Bipartisan senators ask industry for information on surprise medical bills Virginia abortion bill reignites national debate MORE (La.), though many believe Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBusiness, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week 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 AlexanderCongress must move forward on measure dealing with fentanyl GOP advances rules change to speed up confirmation of Trump nominees Key doctors group faces political risks on guns MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators seek answers on surprise medical bills | Red states move to limit Medicaid expansion | Two drug companies agree to testify Senate Dems block Sasse measure meant to respond to Virginia bill 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 RyanUnscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration 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.