By Ramsey Cox
“ObamaCare was passed with many promises, and in reality, it has not delivered,” Cruz said ahead of the vote. “ObamaCare is hurting young people, it’s hurting seniors, it’s hurting Hispanics, it’s hurting African-Americans, it’s hurting the economy and it should be repealed."
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan balances the budget in 10 years through $5.7 trillion in projected spending reductions. Democrats criticize his plan because he repeals the Affordable Care Act and would turn Medicare into a voucher system.
“The Senate budget commits to ensuring the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, so that we can continue building a stronger and more sustainable healthcare system for all Americans,” Murray said. “Unfortunately, the House Republican budget would do the opposite.”
Republicans say Obama’s signature healthcare law hurts the economy and raises taxes on the public and businesses.
The Senate also rejected an amendment from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), which would have repealed the tax increases on individuals from the Affordable Care Act. Crapo’s amendment was rejected on a 45-54 vote Friday.
“ObamaCare itself includes some 20 tax increases over $1 trillion,” Cruz said. “Many of those tax increases fall of the middle class.”
But some healthcare related amendments succeeded. On Friday, the Senate accepted Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-N.H.) amendment to protect women’s healthcare coverage and employer-provided contraceptive coverage authorized under the Affordable Care Act. That amendment passed on a 56-43 vote.
Some Republicans argue that employers shouldn’t have to fund contraception if they disagree with it for moral and religious reasons.
"We must also protect the deeply religious beliefs in this country," Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) said. "This law tramples on the rights of individuals."
Shaheen said that her amendment makes sure a woman’s family planning decisions “are not dictated by government or her employer.”
“The United States has one of the highest rate of unintended pregnancies in the developed world,” Shaheen said. “Preventing unintended pregnancies just makes sense.”
GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted with most Democrats — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.a) was the only Democrat to vote against Shaheen's amendment.
On Thursday night, senators voted 79-20 to repeal a 2.3 percent medical device tax, which was enacted as part of Obama’s healthcare law. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced that amendment.
The Senate will continue debate on the budget until about 3 p.m. Friday. Then it will have a "vote-a-rama" on an unlimited number of germane amendments until final passage.
Murray’s budget includes $100 billion in stimulus funding that Democrats say will help economic growth and workforce training.
Republicans have said the budget overestimates the extent to which it would reduce the deficit, and raises $1 trillion in new taxes. Democrats say their budget cuts the deficit by $1.85 trillion over 10 years through an equal amount of spending cuts and new revenue, but the GOP has said that because it assumes the sequester will not happen, the amount of deficit reduction is closer to $700 billion.
This article was updated at 12:30 p.m. to include the votes on Shaheen and Crapo's amendments.