Senate

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

Greg Nash

Sen. John Cornyn (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 Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (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 Thune (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 McConnell (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 Schumer (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.

Tags ACA Charles Schumer CSR John Cornyn John Thune Lamar Alexander Mitch McConnell ObamaCare Patty Murray
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