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 CornynOvernight Finance: House panel to take up bill toughening review of foreign deals | Trump acknowledges Cohen payment on disclosure form | Officials set for new round of China trade talks Groups urge Senate panel to reject Trump's pick for Louisiana-based appeals court House panel will consider bill to boost foreign investment review powers next week 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.

“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 CruzTed Cruz and Bill Nelson give NASA a reality check on privatizing International Space Station Ten dead after shooting at Texas high school Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Anti-Maduro Venezuelans not unlike anti-Castro Cubans of yore Tax reform postmortem reveals lethal dose of crony capitalism MORE (Fla.), as well as Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate panel advances Trump's CIA nominee Doug Jones to oppose Haspel as CIA chief This week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill 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 CollinsTrump's plan to claw back spending hits wall in Congress Dem rep to launch discharge petition to force net neutrality vote in House Hillicon Valley: Senate votes to save net neutrality | Senate panel breaks with House, says Russia favored Trump in 2016 | Latest from Cambridge Analytica whistleblower | Lawmakers push back on helping Chinese tech giant 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.