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 CruzJim Carrey fires back at 'Joe McCarthy wanna-be' Cruz Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity GOP senators split over antitrust remedies for big tech 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 senator: Supreme Court abortion cases were 'wrongly decided as a constitutional matter' Senate confirms controversial 9th Circuit pick without blue slips Cotton: US could win war with Iran in 'two strikes' MORE (Ark.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity GOP senators split over antitrust remedies for big tech Fix the climate with smaller families MORE (Utah), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonBarr throws curveball into Senate GOP 'spying' probe Bipartisan group of senators introduce legislation designed to strengthen cybersecurity of voting systems Trump Jr. subpoena spotlights GOP split over Russia probes MORE (Wis.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioAnother VPOTUS tries for POTUS: What does history tell us? Tensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Tensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress 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, White House near deal on spending, debt limit The Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending 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 LeahyGraham says Bolton briefed him on Iran, tells Trump to 'stand firm' Overnight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Key Republican 'convinced' Iran threats are credible 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.