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 McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' Democrats seek to counter GOP attacks on gas prices Biden nominates Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey 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 SchumerChuck SchumerBiden administration stokes frustration over Canada Schumer blasts McCarthy for picking people who 'supported the big lie' for Jan. 6 panel Biden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work 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 PaulWriter: Fauci, Paul clash shouldn't distract from probe into COVID-19 origins S.E. Cupp: 'The politicization of science and health safety has inarguably cost lives' Trust in Fauci, federal health agencies strong: poll MORE (Ky.), to announce his opposition to the bill spearheaded by GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform MORE (S.C) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyBipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor The Hill's Morning Report - High-profile COVID-19 infections spark new worries GOP centrists call on Schumer to delay infrastructure vote MORE (La.), though many believe Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Senate falling behind on infrastructure 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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayTech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up Sunday shows preview: As delta variant spreads, US leaders raise concerns 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 RyanTrump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece Cutting critical family support won't solve the labor crisis Juan Williams: Trump's GOP descends into farce 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.