McConnell: We'll start Obamacare repeal on day one

McConnell: We'll start Obamacare repeal on day one
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) says legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act will be the first order of business in the new Congress.

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McConnell announced the agenda Tuesday, after meeting with Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceDems face close polls in must-win Virginia Report: Trump administration officials urged furious Tillerson not to quit Authorities recover 47 firearms in connection with Las Vegas shooter MORE and Senate GOP colleagues over lunch.

"When we come back Jan. 3 we'll be moving to the ObamaCare replacement resolution, the ObamaCare repeal resolution will be the first item up in the New Year," McConnell said, referring to repeal legislation that is expected to pass with a simple majority vote under special budgetary rules. 

The legislation is expected to track closely to similar legislation the GOP-controlled Congress passed at the end of 2015 but which President Obama vetoed. 

There is a dispute between GOP Senate and House conservatives whether the repeal of the law should be phased in over three years — a timeline senators favor — or more quickly than that.

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Another health funding cliff puts care for millions at risk Top Senate Dem: We're going forward with understanding we can work with White House on DACA MORE (R-Mo.), a member of McConnell's leadership team, said Republicans will consider an array of measures to replace President Obama's signature healthcare law.

"There's also going to be an important discussion about all the alternatives that were there in 2009 and 2010 that the administration and particularly the president constantly said, ‘There were no other ideas.’ There were lots of other ideas. This gives us a chance to revisit those ideas," Blunt said.

One proposal favored by Republicans would be to allow insurance companies to sell plans across state lines. Another would give people incentives to create health savings accounts, something GOP policymakers hope may increase competition among providers and lower costs.  

McConnell said Republicans spent Tuesday’s lunch “discussing a variety of different issues with” Pence and said he expects to meet regularly with him next year.  

- Updated at 3:14 p.m.