Senate Democrats ready to defeat healthcare repeal effort

Senate Democratic leaders said they are prepared to defeat an amendment repealing the healthcare law that Republicans are trying to attach to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization bill.

 "The FAA bill is important," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters today. "We are going to do everything we can to get rid of these amendments. The first amendment of course, if Senator McConnell does offer that, and we are told he is going to, it's not going to go anyplace."

 During the press conference, Reid said Democrats plan to swiftly defeat the amendment in a floor vote and then move on.

"A point of order against it will be sustained and [healthcare repeal] won’t pass and then we will move to the FAA bill," said Reid. "We want to get this out of our system quickly."

As majority leader, Reid controls the legislative schedule for the Senate and has refused to allow a vote on a standalone bill that would repeal the healthcare legislation. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced such a bill to the Senate floor after it had passed the House.

At 3:20 p.m. Tuesday, McConnell took the Senate floor to introduce his amendment. Democrats also allowed Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to introduce an amendment that would repeal tax-reporting language in the healthcare law, which both parties support.

Republican leadership hashed a deal out with Democratic leadership in late January that allows amendments to be added to most pieces of Senate legislation in exchange for fewer filibusters.