Senate defeats healthcare repeal in 47-51 vote

The Senate rejected a repeal of the healthcare reform law Wednesday in a 47-51 vote.

Senate Republicans voted unanimously to waive a “budgetary point of order,” but needed 60 votes to proceed. Every Democrat present voted against waiving the point of order.

A successful vote would have allowed the Senate to move to the repeal amendment proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The GOP-controlled House voted to repeal healthcare reform last month.

The Senate result was expected, and even if healthcare act made it through that chamber, it would have been vetoed by President Obama.

But the vote doesn’t end the healthcare fight.

Republicans have said they will push to defund the law and repeal it in pieces. Sen. Lindsey Graham (D-S.C.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to attack the bill one piece at a time.

To create the budgetary point of order, Democrats argued repeal would add $1.4 billion to the deficit.

"Colleagues on all sides say we have got to get the deficits and our debts under control and yet one of the first measures here is to explode the deficits and debt and add $1.4 trillion dollars to the debt," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) who is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. "Mr. President that is not just irresponsible, it is reckless."

McConnell countered: “Only in Washington could you argue with a straight face that starting a new multimillion dollar entitlement program is going to save money.”

Republicans would have needed 13 Democrats to join them in order to reach the 60-vote threshold necessary to waive the objection and sustain the amendment.