U.S. Sen. John McCain, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, told Sen. Lindsey Graham over the phone Wednesday that he's "been through worse," and then went on to discuss health care and other policy issues. McCain, chairman of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, has glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, where McCain had a blood clot removed from above his left eye last Friday. "Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. A group of senators prayed together Wednesday night after learning that McCain had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, according to one of the lawmakers.
Democrats have again blocked a Republican proposal that would have forced the Obama administration to withdraw a federal rule to protect small streams and wetlands from development and pollution. An amendment sponsored by North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven did not get the 60 votes needed to stop the provocative rule. Thursday's vote was the latest effort by Republicans to check the water rule, which they call an example of President Barack Obama's overreach. Most Democrats support the Environmental Protection Agency rule, saying it will safeguard drinking water for 117 million Americans. The Senate has voted multiple times in the last year on GOP measures to thwart the rule, which has been put on hold as federal judges review a series of lawsuits by states and groups representing farmers and other businesses.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media about plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill on June 27, 2017. Senate Republican leaders are planning to put out a new health care bill this week, with revisions aimed at winning over enough holdout GOP members to get the plan over the finish line. The 52-member GOP caucus can only afford to lose two votes. But when Congress returned from its July Fourth recess Monday, several policy disputes remained -- leaving the bill's chances of passage in serious jeopardy. As the Senate picks up the health care debate, here's a guide to the make-or-break sticking points that stand between Republicans and their longtime goal of rolling back former President Barack Obama's health care law.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's nominee for labor secretary abruptly withdrew his nomination Wednesday after Senate Republicans balked at supporting him, in part over taxes he belatedly paid on a former housekeeper not authorized to work in the United States. Fast food executive Andrew Puzder said in a statement provided to The Associated Press that he was "honored to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labor and put America's workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity." The withdrawal by Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc., came on the eve of his long-delayed confirmation hearing. Many Republicans had said they were troubled by his acknowledgment that he had not paid taxes on the housekeeper until after Trump nominated him to the Cabinet post Dec. 9 -- five years after he had fired the worker. One senator, speaking on condition of anonymity because the conversations were private, said six senators had asked the White House to call off Puzder's scheduled Thursday hearing because they couldn't see themselves voting for him.