Healthcare stealing spotlight from FAA bill

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) noted several times Tuesday that the upper chamber is debating an aviation bill, but few apparently were listening. 

Rockefeller, chairman of the Commerce Committee, said he is working with Republicans on how to "dispose of the pending amendments," one of which is the headline-grabbing healthcare repeal measure.

The West Virginia Democrat, who is also managing the debate on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, has stressed that his legislation would enhance airline safety. 

But FAA was not on the minds of other senators on Tuesday.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) lambasted the health law while Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) argued that this week's federal court ruling in Florida represents another "dagger" in the heart of the healthcare law.

And Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he was in favor of improving the law, but not repealing it. "We never said we completed our work last year,” said Cardin. “We know more work needs to be done but let's move forwards, not backwards."

There will be no more Senate votes until Wednesday.