GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Sen. John McCain of Arizona’s brain tumor could have played a role in his decision to vote against the motion to proceed on Senate Republicans’ “skinny repeal” bill in July.
McCain — who was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer — was one of three Republican senators to vote against the watered-down Obamacare repeal legislation.
“We did get a call from Paul [Ryan] and he assured us that skinny repeal was not going to pass the House, it would have to go to conference,” Johnson told AM560 “Chicago’s Morning Answer.” “Again, I’m not gonna speak for John McCain — he has a brain tumor right now — that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in.”
The “skinny repeal” legislation, which would have repealed the portions of the Affordable Care Act GOP lawmakers largely agreed on while leaving a large number of regulations and taxes in place, was seen by many as a last-ditch effort by Senate Republican leadership to pass a measure that could be conferenced with the House. McCain said he needed confirmation the scaled-back measure would not be the final bill from House Speaker Paul Ryan, but despite Ryan’s word that the lower chamber was willing to go to conference, the Arizona Republican remained unsold.
“I really thought John was going to vote yes,” Johnson said.
McCain’s office pushed back against Johnson’s remarks, arguing their boss’ decision was well thought out.
“It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend,” a McCain spokesman told NBC. “Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote.”
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