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Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson suggested Sen. John McCain's recently diagnosed brain tumor may have played a role in his deciding "no" vote against skinny repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Johnson, speaking last week to AM560 "Chicago's Morning Answer," per CNN's KFILE:

"We did get a call from Paul [Ryan] and he assured us that skinny repeal…would have to go to conference. Again, I'm not gonna speak for John McCain — he has a brain tumor right now — that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in."

More from Johnson: "Again, I-I-I don't know exactly what — we really thought — and again I don't want speak for any senator. I really thought John was going to vote yes to send that to conference at 10:30 at night. By about 1, 1:30, he voted no. So you have talk to John in terms what was on his mind."

Think back: McCain and Johnson both took part in a press conference — along with Sen. Lindsey Graham — hours before the skinny repeal vote where they refused to vote for the bill without clear assurance from the House that it wouldn't become law.

McCain's response to Johnson's quote: "It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote."

A statement from Johnson: "I'm disappointed I didn't more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through. I have nothing but respect for him and the vote came at the end of a long day for everyone."

Go deeper

Economy slows in third quarter amid Delta variant

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy increased at an annual rate of 2% in the third quarter, the Department of Commerce said Thursday.

Driving the news: The gross domestic product figures for July through September come in much lower than the 6.7% increase in the second quarter, reflecting the "continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Department of Commerce.

Top Dem says Big Oil put Earth on "brink" of catastrophe

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Don't expect a sedate House hearing Thursday on allegations that Big Oil has intentionally sown doubt about climate change.

What they're saying: "For far too long, Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe. That ends today," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, intends to say in her opening remarks shared with Axios.

50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden lays out $1.75 trillion "framework" before Europe departure

Biden in Kearny, New Jersey, on Oct. 25. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden announced Thursday a "framework" for $1.75 trillion in social program and climate change spending after failing in prior efforts to win over his fellow Democrats on a much broader and costlier package.

Why it matters: Biden is gambling that by endorsing the broad contours of the proposal, which he was immediately planning to sell in a meeting with House Democrats before jetting off to Europe, House progressives will vote for his $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan if and when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings it to the floor.

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