Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (R-Ky.) signaled to reporters on Wednesday that he doesn’t have any plans to move again this year to repeal ObamaCare, even though Republicans might now have a better chance of success after Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was sworn in.
Senate Republicans view Kyl as someone more likely to vote with GOP leaders on health care reform legislation than was late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home MORE (R-Ariz.), the maverick whom Kyl replaced after his death.
McCain’s vote ultimately axed the 2017 GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare. Moderate Republican Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Welcome to ground zero of climate chaos MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump, allies launch onslaught as midterms kick into gear Emboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration MORE (Alaska) also voted no.
But taking another stab at an ObamaCare repeal before the end of the year would be a herculean task as Senate Republicans would have to first pass a budget to set up a special process allowing such a bill to pass with a simple majority.
“The agenda for the month is already set. We have our plate full through the end of the fiscal year,” McConnell told reporters Wednesday when asked about moving legislation in the next few months to repeal ObamaCare.
McConnell said he is focused on moving appropriations bills to avoid having to vote on a year-end omnibus spending package.
“We’ll have to pass the three appropriations conference reports, pass the Farm bill, confirm a Supreme Court justice and then do some kind of continuing resolution for the roughly 10 percent of the budget left un-appropriated before the end of the year,” he said.
McConnell did not explicitly rule out moving an ObamaCare repeal in the lame duck session after the election but his answer didn’t indicate that he’s giving it serious thought.
Political handicappers give Democrats a good chance of taking back control of the House in the midterms, which would dash any GOP hopes of repealing ObamaCare during the remainder of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE’s first term in office.
Even if Kyl votes for a repeal, Senate Republicans would still probably not have enough votes.
Since the 2017 health care debate, they have lost control of the Alabama Senate seat, which Democrat Doug Jones won in a stunning upset in a December special election.