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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced tonight that the health care vote that was set for next week will be delayed — because now Sen. John McCain is going to spend the week in Arizona recovering from eye surgery. He had a blood clot removed yesterday from above his left eye and will stay in Arizona next week, per a statement from his office.

Senate Republicans need 50 votes just to start the debate, let alone pass it — enough for Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie. Sens. Susan Collins and Rand Paul are expected to vote with all 46 Democrats and two Democrat-leaning independents against starting the debate. So if there are 50 "no" votes and only 49 "yes" votes — because McCain's not there — they can't even take up the bill.

What McConnell said in his statement: "While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act."

Go deeper

12 mins ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
52 mins ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Collective.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"