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 McCainTrump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game Arizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ 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 SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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 PaulConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (Ky.), to announce his opposition to the bill spearheaded by GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Kim, Moon toss ball to Trump in ‘last, best chance’ for Korean peace GOP senator: Kavanaugh accuser 'moving the goalposts' MORE (S.C) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: Opioids package nears finish line | Measure to help drug companies draws ire | Maryland ObamaCare rates to drop Overnight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE (La.), though many believe Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? Kavanaugh fight roils an already ugly political climate 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 AlexanderOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Overnight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal Trump health official defends funding shifts to pay for detained migrant children 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 RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign 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.