Senate

In rare move, Schumer forces vote to consider health care bill amid Supreme Court tensions

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday took the rare step of trying to force a vote on legislation amid growing tensions over the Supreme Court fight.

Schumer, from the Senate floor, took procedural steps to bring up a bill that would ban the Department of Justice (DOJ) from advocating for courts to strike down the Affordable Care Act. The DOJ is doing just that in a case that’s set to be heard by the Supreme Court on Nov. 10.

Democrats argue that if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to fill the seat left vacant by the Sept. 18 death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it will be more likely that the Supreme Court strikes down the Obama-era health care bill.

Schumer’s move caught Republican leaders by surprise. A Schumer aide confirmed that the Democratic leader’s maneuvering will make the Democratic bill next up on the Senate’s floor schedule once they pass a continuing resolution Wednesday to fund the government beyond Sept. 30 and avoid a government shutdown.

Under the Senate’s rules, a vote related to the Democratic bill could take place as soon as Thursday. Democrats will need 60 votes to move forward, something they are all but guaranteed to fall short of, but it will allow them to try to squeeze Republicans on health care.

Typically in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) controls what votes get brought up for action on the floor.

Asked when the last time a member of the minority party moved to force a vote was, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, said he was told it happened roughly 10 years ago.

Tags Affordable Care Act Charles Schumer floor vote Health care John Thune Mitch McConnell ObamaCare Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court nominee

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