The Latest: McCain to come back to Senate Tuesday

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the ongoing effort by congressional Republicans to pass a health care bill (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

Arizona Sen. John McCain is returning to the Senate on Tuesday to vote on GOP health care legislation just days after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

McCain's office made the dramatic announcement late Monday in a brief statement saying he looks forward "to continue working on important legislation including health care reform."

Republicans are holding the high-stakes vote on Tuesday to open debate on legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare."

They have almost no margin for error making the presence of the 80-year-old McCain crucial if the vote is to succeed.


9:20 p.m.

The office of Sen. John McCain says the ailing Arizona Republican will return to the Senate on Tuesday, the day of the health care vote.

In a statement Monday night, McCain's office says he looks forward to continuing work on "important legislation." It cites specifically health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.

McCain has been diagnosed with cancer. His return to the Senate had been uncertain.


8:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump has jokingly threatened to fire his health secretary if a crucial vote to repeal "Obamacare" fails.

Trump told thousands of Boy Scouts at a national gathering in West Virginia that Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price "better get" the votes to begin debate on health care legislation Tuesday.

Otherwise, Trump said he'd repeat his tagline from "The Apprentice," the reality show he once starred in: "You're fired."

The comment drew laughs from the crowd and Trump gave Price a friendly pat on the shoulder, suggesting he'd been joking.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she'd taken the comment that way as well.


7:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is threatening — perhaps jokingly — to fire Health Secretary Tom Price if a crucial vote to repeal "Obamacare'" fails.

Trump tells thousands of Boy Scouts at a national gathering in West Virginia that Price "better get" the votes to begin debate on the legislation Tuesday.

"Otherwise," Trump tells the crowd, "I'll say: Tom, you're fired."

He adds: "You better get Sen. Capito to vote for it."

West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito has expressed reservations about the Republican health care bill.

It's unclear whether the president was serious or joking.

Trump has been urging Republicans to support an effort to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law, which he calls a "nightmare."


4:30 p.m.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is pressing dissenting Republican senators to back the GOP's reeling health care bill in a threshold vote he says will occur Tuesday.

In remarks opening Monday's session, the Kentucky Republican said the Senate will vote on whether to begin debating the GOP legislation. He did not describe which version of the measure the chamber would initially consider.

McConnell needs 50 of the 52 GOP senators' votes to begin debate. More Republicans than that have said they're opposed to the GOP legislation.

McConnell says he's made a commitment to his state's voters to scuttle President Barack Obama's law. He says he'll keep that commitment by voting to start debate.

And he says he hopes other Republicans will do the same.


4:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is calling the nation's health care law "death" as he urges Republican senators to "do the right thing" on an overhaul effort.

In a televised address, Trump seeks to push his party on the eve of a key vote.

Flanked by families that he dubbed "victims" of President Barack Obama's health care law, Trump called the law a "nightmare." He asked if GOP senators would "side with Obamacare's architects or with its forgotten victims."

Leaders have said the Senate will vote Tuesday on legislation shredding much of the law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn't yet announced exactly what version of the measure lawmakers would consider.

Trump stressed that Republicans have run for years on a promise to repeal and replace the law. He said they must "fulfill that solemn promise."


1:15 p.m.

A Texas Republican congressman says it's "absolutely repugnant" that the GOP-led Senate hasn't acted on repealing the health care law and he singled out "some female senators from the Northeast."

In a radio interview with "1440 Keys," Rep. Blake Farenthold said the Senate has failed to show the courage to dismantle the health care law. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to move ahead on legislation.

Farenthold complained about some female lawmakers and said, "If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style."

Maine Sen. Susan Collins has been consistent in opposing the GOP replacement to Obamacare. Other female senators who have expressed reservations are Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.


12:25 p.m.

The Republican governor of Ohio says it would be a mistake for the Senate to move ahead on health and "force a one-sided deal that the American people are clearly against."

In a statement on Monday, Gov. John Kasich says Republicans and Democrats should work together openly to address the failings of the Obama health law and come up with a bipartisan solution.

Kasich, who sought the GOP presidential nomination last year, said the American people will come out on the losing end if Republicans try to force a vote without open dialogue and transparency.

Kasich's comments add pressure to Ohio's Republican senator, Rob Portman, ahead of the vote.


9:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump has a message for Republican lawmakers deliberating the latest proposed health care bill: this is your last chance.

Trump is tweeting that "Republicans have a last chance to do the right thing on Repeal & Replace after years of talking & campaigning on it."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has struggled to get the votes needed from GOP lawmakers to pass the bill, particularly in the face of solid opposition from the Democrats.

Facing criticism from the president, the Senate postponed its summer break as it works to break through the stalemate.

The White House remains adamant that a path to passing the bill remains, but concedes that the longer the process drag on, the harder it will be to move the bill forward.


3:10 a.m.

The Senate will move forward with a key vote this week on a Republican health bill but it's a mystery what exactly they will be voting on. It's not yet known whether the legislation will seek to replace President Barack Obama's health care law or simply repeal it.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will make a decision soon on which bill to bring up for a vote, depending on ongoing discussions with GOP senators. Thune sought to cast this week's initial vote as important but mostly procedural, allowing senators to begin debate and propose amendments.

But he acknowledged senators should be able to know beforehand what bill they will be considering.

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