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The Brief: U.S. Senate pushes pause button on health care overhaul

Republicans in the U.S. Senate pressed the pause button on efforts to overhaul the American health care system Tuesday, announcing a vote on their proposal — originally set for this week — wouldn't happen until after Congress returned from its July 4 recess.

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn are trailed by reporters as they walk to the Senate floor of the U.S. Capitol after unveiling a draft bill on healthcare in Washington on June 22, 2017.

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What you need to know

Republicans in the U.S. Senate pressed the pause button on efforts to overhaul the American health care system Tuesday, announcing that a vote on their proposal — originally set for this week — wouldn't happen until after Congress returned from its July 4 recess. Here's what you need to know

• In short: "We didn't have the votes. Duh," U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, told Politico after Republican leadership delayed the vote, summing up resistance the party faced in bringing the GOP bill to the floor. While Democrats across the board opposed the proposal, moderate and conservative Republicans also expressed concerns, including those representing states heavily reliant on Medicaid or regions with opioid epidemics. 

How did Texas' senators feel about the GOP health care bill? U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate majority whip, led the vote-counting process and expressed a dose of optimism Tuesday morning, saying a vote on the GOP bill could come up at some point Wednesday. But after a lunch meeting with senators, Cornyn walked his statements back. On the other hand, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, had joined at least five other senators in opposing the proposal, asking more conservative changes be made to the bill. "We still got a way to go," Cruz said after the vote delay, adding he believed the Senate could eventually pass the legislation once more discussions — or compromises — happened. 

What's the Senate's next move? President Donald Trump met with several GOP senators Tuesday afternoon at the White House, telling them, "If we don't get it done, it's just going to be something that we're not going to like and that's okay ... But I think we have a chance to do something very, very important for the public." Senate Republicans are expected to rewrite the GOP health care bill over break and return to Washington ready to vote on the new legislation. Of the 52 Republicans in the Senate, at least 50 need to support the measure for it to pass, assuming Vice President Mike Pence casts his tiebreaking vote for the bill.

Other stories we're watching today:

• After some University of Texas System regents raised concerns over system spending, board members are holding a special meeting in Houston today to start reviewing that spending. Follow Texas Tribune reporter Matthew Watkins for updates.  

• Rallies at the Texas Capitol are back — a "die in" protesting the U.S. Senate's GOP health care bill is set to happen this morning, and a pro-LGBTQ rally is taking place later this evening. Follow Texas Tribune reporter Emma Platoff for updates on the latter rally. 

Tribune today 

• Add the border city of El Paso to the growing list of local governments looking to stop the state's new immigration law in court.  

• Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller — once on President Trump's Cabinet shortlist — said his name has been floated for some vacancies in the administration, and wouldn't rule out joining it, either. 

• Two of the three highest-paid public university leaders are from — yes, you guessed it — Texas.

• With 17 legal vacancies across Texas, the Trump administration seemingly hasn't made an effort to fill them yet.

• Remember the lengthy affirmative action lawsuit against UT-Austin that failed last year? The man who headed that effort is back with another plan to take the university to court

Pencil us in

Join us on July 19 for coffee and conversation previewing the 85th special legislative session with state Reps. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, and Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler. 

Register for the 2017 Texas Tribune Festival! Join us for three days of the best conversations in politics and public policy, Sept. 22-24. Register here

What we're reading

Links below lead to outside websites; we've noted paywall content with $.

Emboldened industry lobbyists try to scale back Medicaid cuts, Politico

Over the wall, Texas Observer

Darling discusses Ted Cruz visit, meets with protesters; Hinojosa to lead parade, The Monitor

Racial tension in Fort Worth and the task force that will fight it, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Mold found in containers of about 850 Austin police rape kits, city memo says, The Austin American-Statesman ($)

Houston officials warn public about highly dangerous opioid, The Houston Chronicle ($)

A Time magazine with Trump on the cover hangs in his golf clubs. It's fake., The Washington Post ($)

Photo of the day

Protesters march near the Riverwalk in San Antonio against Senate Bill 4, the "sanctuary cities" ban, on June 26, the same day a federal judge heard opening arguments from Texas cities and counties challenging the new law. Photo by Robin Jerstad. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"I kind of like being a big fish in a little pond down here in Texas."

— Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller about potentially being interested in a role in the Trump administration

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