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U.S. Senate to delay votes on Republican health-care bill
Last Updated: 2017-07-17 00:36 | Xinhua
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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late Saturday night announced a delay to vote on a Republican bill to repeal and replace the country's existing health-care program.

The announcement came after a statement said that Republican Senator John McCain would stay home recovering from surgery on a blood clot, which would leave Republicans short of the votes required to move forward the legislation.

The Republican's health-care bill -- the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) -- is designed to replace former President Barack Obama's signature health-care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as the Obamacare.

McCain had a two-inch blood clot removed from above his left eye by surgeons in Phoenix Friday. "On the advice of his doctors, Senator McCain will be recovering in Arizona next week," a spokesperson for the 80-year-old senator said in a statement Saturday.

The Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix said "the surgery went very well" and McCain is taking a rest at home "in good condition."

"While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act," McConnell said in a statement late Saturday night.

With opposition coming from all Democrats and independents in the Senate, the GOP (nickname of the Republican party) bill has been on a brink as some Republicans stay undecided.

Two Republicans, Rand Paul and Susan Collins, have made clear that they will vote against the GOP measure.

As Republicans hold a 52-49 majority in the Senate, they could afford losing two votes from its side. And now with McCain staying home, the GOP leadership is less likely to gain 50 votes, a threshold to begin debate on the legislation.

Were there a tie in the vote, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who also is the president of the Senate, would use his vote to break the tie and pass the bill.

Critics blasted the Republican bill for what they say hurts the very rural supporters who formed the backbone of U.S. President Donald Trump's support base and were key to Trump's clinching of the White House.

Senate Republicans of the U.S. Congress unveiled on Thursday a revised version of the Republican health-care bill in the hope of a procedural and then a final vote by senators in coming weeks amid a much-delayed GOP agenda.

The initial version of the health-care bill passed the House of Representatives in early May. Then the bill entered the Senate for discussion.

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