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Politico: McCain's Absence Leaves Hole on Armed Services

Image: Politico: McCain's Absence Leaves Hole on Armed Services
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By    |   Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 09:00 PM

Sen. John McCain's absence from the upper chamber leaves a giant hole in the middle of the Republican conference – especially on defense and foreign policy issues – his colleagues say.

When it comes to Syria, ISIS, Iran, and North Korea, McCain, whose brain cancer diagnosis was made public Wednesday, has pushed for hard-line policies – even when they clash with Trump administration, Politico reported.

And he was a "dependable" vote for Obamacare repeal and replace legislation, the outlet reported, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vows to try to bring up the bill early next week, Politico reported.

"I hope he's able to make it back next week," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Politico. "It's a shock, a shock to all of us."

Cornyn said he expected Senate Republicans would still push ahead with the healthcare vote next week, though McCain is unlikely to make it.

"We can always come back to it, if it's not successful, if we fail by one vote," Cornyn added. "We can come back to it when he is available."

As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain might also not be able to oversee completion of the annual defense authorization bill, which had been expected to be taken up on the Senate floor as early next week, Politico reported.

"I think, frankly, if the chairman had been here, we would have moved very quickly to the [defense authorization] bill," Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., told Politico. "He wanted to do it, and we were ready to work together to do it."

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who has taken over the panel in McCain's absence, said he'll "wait for [McCain's] instructions. And I am sure he will have some ideas."

Yet committee member Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., hinted Senate leaders might eventually just have to move the bill.

"I think that first off, we just hope he fares very well in the treatment. And I know that if anybody is going to come back and try to move the [National Defense Authorization Act], it's going to be John McCain," Tillis told Politico.

"But I think that at some point in time, you'd have to make a decision of how you could move the bill. It came out of the committee with strong bipartisan support. That's a testament to his leadership. . . . There [are] some timing-related things in there, where if the schedule were to stretch, we just have to take a look at the options."

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Sen. John McCain's absence from the upper chamber leaves a giant hole in the middle of the Republican conference – especially on defense and foreign policy issues – his colleagues say.
defense, armed services, foreign policy, GOP
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2017-00-20
Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 09:00 PM
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