Senate GOP paves way for ObamaCare repeal bill

Getty Images

Senate Republicans are paving the way for legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fast-tracked the House bill on Thursday, placing it on the Senate calendar and allowing it — as had been expected — to skip over the committee process. 
Senate Republicans are writing their own proposal, but will use the House bill as a shell to get their bill through the upper chamber. McConnell’s move will allow him to bring up the legislation quickly once Republicans are ready to vote. 
{mosads}McConnell predicted after a closed-door caucus lunch this week that Republicans would be moving forward with their legislation in the “near future.” 

“We’ve had plenty of time to discuss this issue. … We’re getting close to having a proposal to whip and take to the floor,” he told reporters during a weekly press conference.

Republicans want to pass their ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill this summer, with some members pointing to the July 4 break, while others want to pass it by the August recess.

But leadership has a narrow path to getting the bill through the Senate. They have 52 seats, meaning they can only lose two GOP senators. No Democrats are expected to vote for the bill.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday that “we’ve already lost [Sen.] Rand Paul, so we’re down to 51.” 

But a spokesman for the Kentucky Republican quickly refuted that, saying that Paul “remains optimistic the bill can be improved in the days ahead and is keeping an open mind.” 

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the chairman of the Budget Committee, said this week that the House’s bill complied with the reconciliation process, which will allow the legislation to clear through the Senate by a simple majority.  

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), however, countered that the Senate parliamentarian had only made a decision about a provision in the House bill, not the entire legislation. 

“I am extremely concerned that the chairman of the Budget Committee, in an unprecedented manner, appears to have made that determination himself with regard to the Trump-Ryan health care bill that was passed several weeks ago in the House,” he said. 

He added, “I look forward to hearing from the parliamentarian as soon as possible on the broader ruling on whether the Trump-Ryan health care bill is in compliance.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Lindsey Graham Mike Enzi Mitch McConnell Rand Paul
See all Hill.TV See all Video