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 CornynImmigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP Congressional investigations — not just special counsels — strengthen our democracy Wrath of right falls on Google 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 CruzTed CruzThe media couldn't be more blatant in distorting Trump's words on Charlottesville Curtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz Kimmel: Let’s make Trump a king so he has no power MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioScarborough: Trump has chosen the 'wrong side' THE MEMO: Trump reignites race firestorm RNC spokeswoman: GOP stands behind Trump's message 'of love and inclusiveness' MORE (Fla.), as well as Mike LeeMike LeeTrouble draining the swamp? Try returning power to the states Congress must act to protect data privacy before courts make surveillance even easier Five tough decisions for the GOP on healthcare 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 CollinsOPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight The fight to protect the Affordable Care Act isn’t over 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.