Key GOP senator: ObamaCare payments likely to be included in funding bill

Key GOP senator: ObamaCare payments likely to be included in funding bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynAbbott bows to Trump pressure on Texas election audit Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook Democrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight MORE (R-Texas) said Wednesday that the Senate will likely include key ObamaCare payments in an end-of-year spending bill.

"I think that's likely to happen," Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican, told reporters when asked if the cost-sharing reduction payments would be included in the December funding bill.

Cornyn added that the legislation from Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayBuilding strong public health capacity across the US Texas abortion law creates 2022 headache for GOP Top Democrat says he'll push to address fossil fuel tax breaks in spending bill MORE (D-Wash.), which would include two years of the ObamaCare payments to insurers in exchange for more flexibility to the states, could help lower premiums and "has merit."

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"I wouldn't do it as a stand-alone [bill] but I think with the repeal of the individual mandate it probably makes more sense," he said.

Republicans unveiled an updated tax plan on Tuesday night to repeal ObamaCare's individual insurance mandate, which has required most Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty.

But Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSchumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff MORE (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, said on Tuesday the Senate would also pass the Alexander-Murray bill as part of the trade off.

Alexander separately said on Wednesday whether or not to include the subsidy funding in the spending bill was up to Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation We don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (R-Ky.), but he would support the move.

Democrats have been clamoring for the Senate to pass legislation funding the payments or to include them in the year-end agreement. Lawmakers have until Dec. 8 to pass government funding legislation or face a shutdown.

Still, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol Democrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan MORE (D-N.Y.) warned on Wednesday that Democrats won't help pass Alexander-Murray if it's tied to the tax bill.

"The Republicans cannot expect to pass their own separate ideological health-care provision and then turn around and ask Democrats to vote to pass Alexander-Murray," Schumer said from the Senate floor.