Senate Republicans Attempt to Revise Affordable Care Act Repeal Legislation to Overcome Obstacles
December 1, 2015 09:18 AM
Republicans in the U.S. Senate are working to revise legislation that would repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act, including the employer mandate, in order to overcome obstacles to passing the legislation that have emerged in recent weeks. On October 27, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation (see previous NAHC Report article here). While the President is expected to veto the measure, Republicans have stated that passing the bill in Congress would be a victory in and of itself.
However, Senate Republicans have faced obstacles to passing the legislation in order to send it to President’s desk. First, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the bill contained non-budgetary matters, which precluded the Senate from using the reconciliation process requiring only 50 votes rather than the normal 60 votes (for more information about the reconciliation process, see previous NAHC Report article here). Senate Republicans have been working to revise the language repealing the employer and individual mandates in order to gain the Senate parliamentarian’s approval to use reconciliation.
Another obstacle is that some Senate Republicans have stated their opposition to the measure for varying reasons. Some conservatives, including presidential candidates Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), have expressed their opposition to the bill because it does not repeal enough of the Affordable Care Act. Other more moderate Republicans are concerned about the inclusion of language preventing funding for Planned Parenthood. As a result, the Senate’s ability to achieve even the lower threshold of 50 votes remains in question.
The Senate parliamentarian reportedly may reconsider a revised version of the measure this week to determine whether it can be passed with 50 votes under reconciliation, in which case the Senate may vote on the legislation as soon as this week assuming enough Republicans commit their support.
NAHC Reportwill continue to provide updates regarding the status of this legislation.