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Senate Clears Procedural Motion on House Obamacare Overhaul
Republicans can now hold a vote on several of their own health care bills

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, talks with reporters in the senate subway before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on July 25, 2017. She would later vote no on the motion to proceed with the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans mustered the support necessary to clear a key procedural hurdle Tuesday that will allow the chamber to hold a vote on several pieces of legislation designed to, in some fashion or another, overhaul the U.S. health insurance system.

Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie to clear the Senate motion to proceed with the House-passed bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, after weeks of hand-wringing and backroom deal-making by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Health Care: Four Make or Break Senators We’re Watching
Capito, Collins, Murkowski and Heller

Left to right: Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (Photos by Tom Williams and Bill Clark, composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

UPDATE 2:28 p.m., July 25 | Sens. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va. and Dean Heller, R-Nev., have both announced they plan to vote to proceed with the health care bill. Their ayes clear the 50 vote threshold required to proceed, but questions about the package as a whole remain with Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s Friday ruling that budget reconciliation rules would be violated in the bill’s current state.

With Sen. John McCain en route to cast a critical health care vote just one week after announcing a brain cancer diagnosis, here are four senators to watch and what they’ve said leading up to Tuesday’s vote:

Senate Republicans Getting Closer on Health Care

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., says that “folks are coming around’ on backing the motion to proceed on the health care debate.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republican leaders on Tuesday continued to zero in on their goal of getting 50 votes to proceed to legislation to redo the U.S. health care system. 

Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 in GOP leadership, said “folks are coming around” on backing the motion to proceed on health care debate, but the South Dakotan declined to predict victory on today’s vote. If leadership prevails on the vote, the Senate will keep alive efforts to repeal or repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

McCain Returns, Will Likely Lead Defense Policy Debate

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., returns to the Capitol and will be involved in the defense authorization debate. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., recently diagnosed with brain cancer, made the surprise announcement Monday he would return to the Capitol for a procedural vote today on health care legislation, as well as anticipated debate on the chamber’s Pentagon policy bill and sanctions legislation.

Over in the House, lawmakers are preparing to take up a so-called security minibus, which includes the Defense appropriations bill. And that chamber is expected to take up a Russia, Iran and North Korea sanctions bills today.

Senate Democrats Wage Eleventh-Hour Twitter War on GOP Health Care Bill
Vote Tuesday decides whether chamber moves ahead with Obamacare repeal

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was one of a slew of Democrats to take part in a late Twitter flurry against the GOP health care overhaul ahead of a momentous vote to proceed Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats in the last 24 hours have launched a furious volley of attacks against their colleagues across the aisle ahead of the vote Tuesday on whether to proceed with the GOP health care bill that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

The Democrats hope Twitter is their Agincourt and tweets their arrows.

Now McCain Is a ‘Hero’ to Trump
President praises Arizona Republican’s return to Washington

Arizona Sen. John McCain returns to the Hill on Tuesday to vote on a motion to proceed on the Republican health care legislation. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Washington is showering its praises on Sen. John McCain for returning to the Capitol onTuesday to vote on the Senate’s motion to proceed on the bill to dismantle the 2010 health care law, a week after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an often fatal form of brain cancer.

Leading the charge on Tuesday morning was President Donald Trump, who once belittled the Arizona Republican for being shot down and captured during the Vietnam War.

Trump Sees Power in Twitter — but Not to Sell Health Care Bill
Since House bill passage, under 10 percent of president’s tweets about health care

As Senate Republicans have struggled to put together their health care legislation, some in the GOP have hoped the president would provide some air coverage through his social media accounts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter barrage in recent days, reflective of a larger trend that is rankling some Republicans: He has fired off notably more tweets about Russia than ones intended to help sell a Senate Republican health care bill.

Trump is quick to defend his Twitter habit as his best tool to directly reach the American people. Yet, since Senate Republicans grabbed the health care baton in early May, the president has devoted less than 10 percent of his tweets to the measure that is unpopular with the public.

Complaints From Top NIH Scientist Preceded Rollback Of Lab Restrictions
Internal pushback highlights aftermath of 2015 scandal

Current National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins was the head of the agency when major safety issues were uncovered in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Complaints from a top scientist at the National Institutes of Health preceded at least a partial rollback of restrictions on the number of patients that could receive treatment in his lab, according to emails obtained by CQ Roll Call under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The facility in question was previously closed after an independent audit revealed black mold in the lab, among other major compliance issues. 

Analysis: Moving Past Obamacare May Include Embracing Some of Its Conservative Roots
Parts of 2010 health care law based on Republican ideas

Montana Sen. Max Baucus, seen here in 2013, solicited Republican opinions while crafting a template for what became the 2010 health care law. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missteps, miscalculations and mistakes have almost defined efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law. 

Some political theorists and economists — including conservatives — suggest that one of the biggest mistakes may be the reluctance by Republicans to acknowledge that significant parts of President Barack Obama’s signature law were based on conservative principles.

Ready or Not, McConnell Says Senate Voting on Health Care Tuesday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the chamber would vote on a procedural motion on the health care measure on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed on Monday that the chamber would hold a procedural vote on Tuesday on a House-passed measure to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system.

“Seven years ago, Democrats forced Obamacare on the American people. It was supposed to lower health costs, but, of course, they skyrocketed. It was supposed to provide more health options, but they plummeted,” the Kentucky Republican said during his opening remarks. “I will vote yes on the motion to proceed. And I would urge all of our colleagues to do the same.”