GOP attempt to block funding for DC's individual mandate fails in Senate
© Greg Nash

A Republican attempt to include a provision in a government funding bill that would block the District of Columbia from using money to implement its own individual health-care mandate failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

Senators voted 54-44 to table the amendment from GOP Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSinger Leon Bridges to join Willie Nelson in performing at O’Rourke rally Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Poll: Beto O'Rourke leads Cruz by 2 points in Texas Senate race MORE (Texas). The vote effectively pigeonholes the proposal with the Senate poised to pass the larger funding bill on Wednesday.

"If you vote to table this amendment, you are voting to raise taxes on low-income D.C. residents who are struggling to make ends meet," Cruz said ahead of the vote.

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Cruz and GOP Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senators condemn 'vulgar' messages directed at Collins over Kavanaugh GOP turns its fire on Google Overnight Defense: Trump denies report he's looking at Mattis replacements | Inhofe officially gets Armed Services gavel | Trump revives shutdown threat MORE (Ark.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeUtah group complains Mia Love should face criminal penalties for improper fundraising Senate approves 4B spending bill Overnight Health Care: Opioid legislation passes overwhelmingly | DOJ backs Cigna-Express Scripts merger | Senate passes ban on pharmacy gag clauses MORE (Utah), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonKavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow House panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills MORE (Wis.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' For Poland, a time for justice Judiciary Democrat calls for additional witnesses to testify on Kavanaugh MORE (Fla.) introduced the amendment to the funding bill, which includes money for the departments of Agriculture, Transportation, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, and financial services.

With 60 votes needed to pass government funding bills in the Senate, the GOP health-care proposal wasn't expected to be included in the funding bill. Including the provision could have sunk its chances of passing the Senate, where Republicans need roughly 10 votes from Democrats.

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyCongress reaches deal to fund government through Dec. 7, preventing shutdown Senate approves first 2019 spending package GOP shrugs off Trump shutdown threat MORE (R-Ala.) added that he would oppose the amendment, though he agrees with the policy, in an effort to maintain "regular order" in the government funding process.

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyKavanaugh allegations set stage for Anita Hill sequel Senate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents Dems engage in last-ditch effort to block Kavanaugh MORE (Vt.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said that he and Shelby had worked hard to keep "poison pills" out of appropriations bills and labeled Cruz's proposal a "partisan poison pill."

"Here we're telling the District of Columbia, 'we'll tell you what to do.' That's not democracy," he said.

House Republicans got a similar provision into their funding bill earlier this month. The two bills will need to be worked out in a conference committee.

The District of Columbia passed its individual health insurance requirement earlier this year. Similar to the federal mandate, most individuals will either have to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Several states have considered implementing their own health insurance mandate after Republicans used their tax bill to gut the federal individual mandate after 2018.