House Republicans drop part of ObamaCare repeal

House Republicans drop part of ObamaCare repeal
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House Republicans are pursuing a more narrow version of an ObamaCare repeal bill, a move that the top budget leader says will ensure smoother sailing in the Senate.

The House Rules Committee decided Wednesday night to limit the scope of its reconciliation bill — a budget tool to roll back ObamaCare — by adopting an amendment from Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.).

Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said he wanted to tailor the bill in a way that would meet the strict demands in the Senate.

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But the effort could cause problems from the GOP's right flank; the existing reconciliation measure is already facing some opposition from conservatives who say it does not go far enough.

During the same hearing, another House Republican, Rep. Cynthia LummisCynthia LummisTrump's Interior candidates would play Russian roulette with West Trump eyes House members for Cabinet jobs Trump aide dodges questions about business dealings MORE (R-Wyo.), proposed an amendment to broaden the bill to pursue a full repeal of ObamaCare.

“I bring it to you because there are colleagues in the Senate who have come to me and said, we believe that the full repeal would be found suitably acceptable to the Senate Parliamentarian,” Lummis told the hearing.

Still, Lummis said she would rather support a partial repeal of the law if it could actually get to the president’s desk than another failed effort to repeal the full law. Under reconciliation, a bill needs only a majority of votes to pass and therefore can avoid a filibuster.

“Would you still pursue even if you knew could violate the terms of reconciliation?” Sessions asked.

“No, I would not,” Lummis replied.

The amendment was not agreed to.

The complicated rules of reconciliation prompted Price to introduce his amendment, which would strike out a measure repealing the Obama administration’s controversial panel designed to cut Medicare costs, called the Independent Payment Advisory Board.   

“It’s important for all of us to remember that reconciliation is a powerful tool but it is a limited tool,” Price said during the House Rules Committee hearing Wednesday evening. “It’s no silver bullet and in order to ensure the success of this effort, we must respect those limitations.”

The House’s reconciliation bill would repeal the individual mandate, the employer mandate and unpopular taxes like the so-called “Cadillac” tax. It is slated for a vote Friday, before heading to the Senate for final approval by the chamber’s parliamentarian.

Price's amendment changes reconciliation instructions from the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

He said concerns had been raised this week by the Senate Parliamentarian, who didn’t believe it met the chamber’s rules requiring all reconciliation bills to have a budgetary effect.

The party’s more conservative members have said they oppose efforts to chip away at ObamaCare that do not repeal the law in full — a campaign promise, they argue, made to millions of Americans.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) signaled Wednesday that he would press for full repeal.

"It's not complicated: We promised the voters full repeal of #Obamacare on reconciliation. We should do exactly that," the White House hopeful tweeted, after declining to comment on the partial repeal on Tuesday.

—Updated at 8:15 p.m.