Senate plans vote on partial ObamaCare repeal next month

Senate plans vote on partial ObamaCare repeal next month
© Greg Nash

The Senate is planning a budget vote to repeal major ObamaCare mandates and defund Planned Parenthood as early as November, the No. 2 Republican said Wednesday.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGun proposal picks up GOP support House bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE (R-Texas) told reporters Wednesday that the chamber would hold a “vote-a-rama” on the massive budget bill, known as reconciliation, in the upcoming weeks.`

Cornyn said he hopes it would take place in the week before Thanksgiving. That gives just three weeks for a so-called “Byrd bath” in the Senate — a close examination of budget bills by the chamber’s parliamentarian to ensure that each provision relates to the budget.

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“My expectation is that it’d be sometime this fall,” Cornyn told reporters, according to Politico and CQ Roll Call. “The week or so before Thanksgiving looks like a good opportunity.”

A spokesman for Cornyn said Wednesday afternoon he did not have additional details on timing.

Using the structure of a vote-a-rama — which is also a mostly symbolic part of the annual budget process — could help bolster support for the bill, which has become a flashpoint for debate among the Senate GOP’s right flank.

Three senators — presidential candidates Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (Fla.), as well as Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong How the effort to replace ObamaCare failed Overnight Regulation: Trump temporarily lifts Jones Act for Puerto Rico | Bill would exempt some banks from Dodd-Frank | Senators unveil driverless car bill MORE (Utah) — have vowed to oppose the bill because it does not fully repeal ObamaCare. House GOP leaders have said a full repeal was not possible, and their legislation was written with the intent of following Senate rules.

Meanwhile, moderate Republican senators, such as Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE (Maine), have raised concerns with the moratorium on Planned Parenthood funding. Collins said in a statement to The Hill last week that she would need to “examine the impact of the entire bill” before deciding whether to support it.

“At this point, we are not certain whether this bill or a version amended by the Senate Finance Committee or the Senate HELP Committee would come before the Senate for a vote,” she wrote.

The decision about whether the legislation satisfies the Byrd rule standards is made by Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, an appointee of Senate GOP leadership. She has raised concerns throughout the reconciliation, and just last week prompted the GOP to drop one piece of ObamaCare repeal — a cost-cutting Medicare panel — from its bill.

Under the Senate’s rules, reconciliation bills can pass with a simple majority vote, allowing the GOP to check off their campaign promise of forcing the president to veto legislation that would signature his signature healthcare law.