House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he is not abandoning hopes of repealing ObamaCare through this year’s budget process even as a key deadline passes this week.
McCarthy acknowledged Republicans will miss Friday’s deadline to outline plans for reconciliation, though he dismissed the deadline as more of a guideline than a mandate.
"We will not put anything out by July 24. It’s not a hard and fast deadline," McCarthy said.
House committees had been asked to lay out their plans for reconciliation by then, per the party’s budget resolution. Those outlines could have included a range of policy areas, including ObamaCare.
Reconciliation, the obscure budget tool that fast-tracks certain pieces of legislation, had been a key sweetener for conservatives who had been reluctant to sign the resolution. House leadership have pledged to use the tool to repeal ObamaCare.
McCarthy said a bill to repeal ObamaCare could come in September, but wouldn't commit to the possibility.
"I don’t think there’s a reason why we have to hurry. So you will see something later," McCarthy said. "It’s something we need to do and we will, but it’s not by July 24."
Momentum for using reconciliation on healthcare legislation has faded after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold ObamaCare last month, enflaming some conservatives who remain committed to sending a repeal of the healthcare law to the president's desk.
— Cristina Marcos contributed