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 CruzO’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate CNN ripped for hiring former Republican operative as political editor: 'WTF?!?!' The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? 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 CottonSenate approves border bill that prevents shutdown 'Morning Joe' host quizzes Howard Schultz on price of a box of Cheerios Huawei charges escalate Trump fight with China MORE (Ark.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency Congress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support MORE (Utah), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority GOP senator voices concern about Trump order, hasn't decided whether he'll back it MORE (Wis.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? Venezuela puts spotlight on Rubio 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 ShelbyHow the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal GOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration 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 LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? Leahy endorses Sanders for president ‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire 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.