McCain isn't expected to return to the Senate for at least one full week, maybe two, so a vote won't happen until then.
But Democrats, who are powerless to stop the bill unless more Republicans defect, are gleefully seizing on the opportunity the delay provides to hammer their GOP colleagues for not holding a single public hearing on the massive legislation.
The additional time is giving opponents a chance to organize more rallies, protests, call-in campaigns, mass emails, door-to-door canvassing and sit-ins at senators' Washington offices to pressure Republicans to vote against the a bill that is already in jeopardy. Susan Collins, R-Maine - have already voiced opposition to the latest version of the bill. On Thursday, he said in a statement: "The revised Senate health care bill released today does not include the measures I have been advocating for on behalf of the people of Arizona".
Protesters have spoken out against the highly unpopular Republican Obamacare replacement effort during both the House's passage of a similar version and while the Senate tried to win votes for its own plan. A vote may come as early next week, but McConnell has hinted that if the measure fails Republicans are prepared to work with Democrats in crafting a bipartisan program, which would need 60 votes to advance instead of the 50 the GOP is now seeking using budget reconciliation. If that vote is successful, it sets up a confirmation vote, likely before the end of the week.
Members of the Trump administration, however, remain confident it will get passed. A vote was postponed last month, also due to limited support. This is particularly true if he was certain he didn't have the votes needed to pass it this week. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced Saturday he is recovering from a surgery and would be absent from votes, depriving Republicans of the support they need to advance the legislation.
McConnell earlier this week delayed the start of the traditional August recess by two weeks, until the third week of August. Nonetheless, this is an indication of just how narrow the margin of victory is for McConnell. Flake said. "I look forward to seeing him back at work soon".
Cornyn acknowledged that if the Senate is unable to attract enough GOP votes that it will "keep trying" but will eventually have to come up with a different plan. Leaders are gauging support on whether they can get all of their members on the same page - something that has proved hard in recent months.
McCain's absence casts doubt on whether the Senate would be able to pass legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, commonly known as Obamacare. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic said the senator's surgery was successful and he is resting comfortably at his home in Arizona.
Doctors now are waiting for the results of a tissue pathology analysis to determine more information about the blood clot, McCain's office said, adding they will release more details as information becomes available.
McCain addressed age and health concerns back in 2005, saying that his health was "excellent" at the time. Speaking on the CBS show "Face the Nation" last week, the senior Republican senator expressed his disenchantment over the pending legal amendment.