Sen. John McCain has recently been diagnosed with brain cancer and the sad news had its effects on a healthcare negotiations meeting set for Wednesday night.
During the meeting, more than a dozen GOP senators were led by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) in prayers for the senator. And as the meeting ended, the senators were all concerned and praised their colleague for all he contributed.
Sen. John Hoeven said that he was “emotional and stunned” at the news. Similarly, there were many other comments including “shook” and “upset” and Sen. John Kennedy said that, “We stopped, and said a prayer for John and his family.”
One of the senator’s best friends, Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC.), was visibly upset and discussed the conversation he had with McCain on Wednesday. He said, “He says I’ve been through worse, so pray. …This disease has never had a more worthy opponent.”
On Wednesday night, McCain’s office officially announced that a brain tumor was found after the senator’s treatment to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. The announcement lead to offers of support and good wishes from both parties.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called McCain “a man who fought and bled and served our nation” and also praised his McCain’s after the GOP meeting. He further added, “All of us stopped. It was a sobering moment. John is someone we work with, we serve with, we respect and it is very sad news.”
McCain’s Democratic colleagues used social media to praise the senator, who is much respected by both parties.
President Obama tweeted, “cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell John.” President Obama served with Senator McCain and defeated him in the 2008 elections.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer added, “You are a true fighter [and] I’ll be praying for you until you beat this. I know you will.”
“You are a true fighter [and] I’ll be praying for you until you beat this. I know you will,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted.
The absence of Sen. McCain due to his surgery led to the postponement of a vote on the GOP’s healthcare plan to the next week. And while the GOP’s top priority is McCain’s health, they also fear that further absence would cause further delays in signing of the legislation.
Sen. Bob Corker told reporters after the GOP meeting that everyone is extremely worried about McCain’s health, “but you understand the math, so obviously makes things difficult.”
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), after praising McCain, further said that it “does complicate things and I just don’t know if he can be back next week.”
McCain’s absence from Washington leaves GOP leadership with an even narrower path to passing their bill.
Republicans are working hard to get a House-passed healthcare bill and are hoping to get most of the proceedings done early next week. GOP will only need a simple majority on the bill to have the legislation passed, and all votes would matter, and hence they are hoping for McCain’s return as they don’t want to lose such an important vote.
If the voting is in GOP’s favor, they would have a chance to repeal and replace ObamaCare and propose a new healthcare plan instead.