McCain Won’t Be Back In DC Until January

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona is not expected to return to Washington until January, which means he will likely miss two crucial votes before lawmakers return home for the Christmas recess.

“Senator McCain has returned home to Arizona and will undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic. He is grateful for the excellent care to receive, and appreciates the outpouring of support from all the people in the country,” McCain’s doctor and office wrote in a statement. “He looks forward to returning to Washington in January.”

McCain will miss the highly anticipated vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, expected sometime this week. The bill appeared to have unanimous support from the Republican Senate conference, with all 52 senators signaling they would vote yes.


McCain’s absence will leave Republicans with the simple majority (51 votes) needed to pass the tax reform bill under the chamber’s reconciliation rules. The party can only afford one GOP defection, any more than that will kill the bill. Vice President Mike Pence postponed a scheduled trip to Israel last week to preside over the vote. His presence means the GOP can lose one member of its caucus and still pass the bill.

The Arizona senator will also likely miss a key vote on a budget resolution that will have to happen before Friday, at which point the federal government runs out of money and all non-essential government employees will be sent home without pay. Lawmakers are expected to reach an agreement on a stopgap that would continue funding domestic programs through mid-January.

Other issues lawmakers either must address or will have to in the near future include a legislative solution for DREAMers, funding for Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP), and hurricane disaster relief.

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